Amazon is joining hands with microchip firm Qualcomm for the purpose of spreading the use of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in wireless headphones. Following the deal, Qualcomm will release a set of chips that any maker of Bluetooth headphones can use to embed Alexa directly into the device.
With this, when the headphones are paired to a phone with the Alexa app on it, the users will be able to talk to the voice assistant by pressing a button on the headphones.
The functioning of the device would be similar to Apple’s AirPods wireless earbuds, which enable users can tap the devices to talk to Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. Qualcomm has developed a pre-made circuit that headphone makers can drop into their device to imbue it with Alexa.
“This radically reduces their cost and time to market,” Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager of voice and music for Qualcomm stated. “It makes it simple for the industry to adopt this.”
The deal is part of a broader push by Qualcomm to diversify away from its dependence on processor and modem chips for mobile phones. The firm has said it expects about $5 billion in revenue from non-mobile sources this year, or more than 20% of the $22.4 billion in sales that analysts expect.