Amazon Is Becoming an AI Chip Maker, Speeding Alexa Responses

Amazon buys Blink Blink security cameras energy-efficient chips Amazon Cloud Cam security camera market Immedia Semiconductor Amazon Echo GoPro Digital Video chips smart-home technology

Toward the end of a year ago, Amazon spent $90 million to purchase Blink.

An Amazon Echo owner has tried to get a television advertising campaign for the smart speaker banned after the Alexa virtual assistant attempted to order cat food when it heard its name on an ad. On the flip side, Blink's cameras are powered by AA batteries, and its embedded, energy-efficient chip allows those batteries to last up to two years at a time. Laptop makers were not willing to pay a per chip price of $1 when less expensive options were available.

The ruling, released on 14 February, said: "We understood that it would not be possible for a purchase to be made without the account owner's knowledge, even in instances where technology, meant to stop ads interacting with devices, had not been effective".

As always, Amazon is thinking long-term with its acquisition of Blink. It was cheaper, too, starting at US$99.

Amazon Alexa will reportedly undergo a brain transplant before next-generation Echo devices launch. Netgear said last week it plans to spin off its Arlo business. Battery life is a big concern for smart home devices, most of which require a constant source of power to work as promised. It's not like Amazon can't add the Blink security camera to its Amazon Key program.

Earlier in 2017, Amazon Echo customers in the USA found their devices had embarked on unauthorised shopping sprees after tuning into TV ads, and in March, audio files recorded by an Echo device were submitted as evidence in an Arkansas murder trial. Currently, Amazon is also in the process of hiring chip engineers for Amazon Web Services, which shows that the company may be introducing its own proprietary chips for that department. Digital video chips "are one of the more expensive components" in a camera.

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