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Amazon.com, Qualcomm to place Alexa assistant in more headphones

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microchip Company Qualcomm Inc ( QCOM.O ) joins Amazon.com Inc. ( AMZN.O ) to spread the…

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microchip Company Qualcomm Inc ( QCOM.O ) joins Amazon.com Inc. ( AMZN.O ) to spread the use of Amazon’s Alexa Voice Assistant in Wireless Headphones, said the companies on Monday.

Prompts on using Amazon’s Alexa Personnel Assistant are viewed in an Amazon experience center in Vallejo, California, USA, May 8, 201

8. REUTERS / Elijah Nouvelage

During the deal, Qualcomm will release a set of chips as all Bluetooth headset manufacturers can use to embed Alexa directly into the device. When the headphones are connected to a phone with the Alexa app on it, users can talk to the voice assistant by pressing a button on the headphones.

The feature would resemble Apple Incs ( AAPL.O ) AirPod Wireless Ear Plugs, enabling users to tap the devices to talk with Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri.

Amazon and Alphabet Incs ( GOOGL.O ) Google, whose voice assistants are most often found in their respective smart home speakers, rush to a partner with headphone manufacturers.

Models from Bose Corp and Jabra have Alexa built and Sony Corp ( 6758.T ) said earlier this year that a software update will do some of their earphones 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 could expand the range. Qualcomm has developed a prepared circuit as headphones manufacturers can let into their device to embed it with Alexa.

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

Murray declined to comment on whether 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. That activity proved to be lucrative for Qualcomm, but its patent licensing model raised regulatory fines and trials from customers like Apple Inc. ( AAPL.O ).

At a conference in Hong Kong released early on Tuesday local time, Qualcomm also said that it works with action camera manufacturer GoPro Inc ( GPRO.O ) to add more Qualcomm chips for image processing in the devices . The company has said 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.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing Dan Grebler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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