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Amazon and Qualcomm partner to add Alexa to more headphones

SAN FRANCISCO (by Stephen Nellis, Reuters) – Microchip firm Qualcomm joins Amazon to spread the use of Amazon's Alexa voice…

SAN FRANCISCO (by Stephen Nellis, Reuters) – Microchip firm Qualcomm joins Amazon to spread the use of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in wireless headphones, said companies on Monday.

During the deal, Qualcomm Releases a set of chips that any Bluetooth headphone manufacturer can use to integrate Alexa directly into the device. When the headphones are connected to a phone with the Alexa app on it, users will be able to talk to the voice assistant by pressing a button on the headphones.

The feature would resemble the Apple AirPod wireless earphones, enabling users to tap the devices to talk with Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri.

Amazon and the Alphabet Google, whose voice assistants are mostly found in their respective smart speakers for the home, rushes to headset collaborators.

Models from Bose Corp and Jabra have Alexa built in, and Sony Corp said earlier this year that a software update will do some of its headphone models to work with Alexa. Google Assistant can be used on headphones from Bose, JBL and Sony, along with Google’s own Pixel Buds.

Qualcomm Partnership can expand that range. Qualcomm has developed a prepared circuit that headphone makers can let into their device to embed it with Alexa.

“This radically reduces their costs and time to the market,” said Anthony Murray, vice president and chief of voice and music for Qualcomm, told Reuters in an interview. “It makes it easy for the industry to assume this.”

Murray declined to comment on Qualcomm would make a similar offer for Google Assistant but said that the chip company plans to support other partners in the future.

The move is part of a wider push of Qualcomm to diversify its dependence on processor and modem chips for mobile phones. This business proved to be lucrative for Qualcomm, but its patent licensing model raised regulatory fines and lawsuit from customers like Apple.

At a conference in Hong Kong released early Tuesday, local time, Qualcomm also said that it’s with action camera manufacturer GoPro to add more Qualcomm chips for image processing in the devices. The company has said that it expects about $ 5 billion in revenue from non-mobile sources this year, or more than 20 percent of the $ 22.4 billion in sales analysts expect.

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