Amazon is providing access to its machine learning tools for third-party developers to use in their apps.
The announcement was made at a developer event in Las Vegas with the firm revealing the tools that developers will now have access to on the Amazon AI platform.
App developers can now use Rekognition, an image recognition service, which can identify scenes and objects, similar to Microsoft and Google tools.
There’s also Polly which is a text-to-speech recognition tool with support offered for 24 languages and the choice of 47 female and male voices.
Amazon is also offering Lex with developers able to add multistep conversations to an application which can utilise simple phrases to help train a chatbot.
Amazon says they can use this tool to build a communicating chatbot and other mobile apps that support lifelike interactions.
One reason for the widening of access, according to one industry analyst, is a recent survey revealed that consumers are increasingly open to interacting with a chatbot when they are online shopping and for retailers this facility helps create a profitable opportunity when considering future software developments.
AirDroid app users warned
Users of the popular AirDriod app are being warned to watch out for a new security fix which they have been told to install immediately but only on a secure network.
The move follows news that the app is vulnerable to hacking and with up to 50 million downloads from the Google Play Store it could see millions of Android users being exposed to data theft and code-execution attacks when using unsecured networks.
Security firm Zimperium revealed the issue and says the problem is that when transmitting update files and sensitive data, the app uses an easily detectable and static encryption key.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “Should a malicious party be using the same network they could remotely gain control of the device.”
Mobile Payment apps struggle
Analysts saw that Black Friday shoppers boosted last year’s figures but didn’t use apps such as Apple Pay.
Around 90% of purchases in-store were made with a credit or debit card with mobile phone payment apps accounting for 0.6% – not much higher than last year’s figure, says tech firm Cayan.
With so many choices and obstacles, industry watchers are saying it could take decades before these apps take off.
Adobe says that 54% of purchases on Black Friday came from smartphones or tablets.
In other mobile app news …
A new WhatsApp upgrade in the New Year may see millions of users being booted off the platform because the app will not work on older smartphones. One of the world’s most popular phone apps, there will be many new features.
The NORAD Santa Tracker website has now gone live and there’s an app to download in time for children (and parents) to use on Christmas Eve.
A new system to classify SD cards for use with Android phones has been unveiled – users will see whether the card is powerful enough for their needs ‘at a glance’.
The popular BBC news app has been updated so users can enjoy vertical videos and being able swipe through the day’s stories.
Smart phone users in Edinburgh’s city centre can now enjoy free high-speed Internet which covers the entire centre rather than having wifi hotspots.