I have been using Echodot & Alexa Skills since 2 weeks now, there are two major caveats I have noticed till now. First is that there is no background processing support e.g. Music Playback when using another skill, and second many a time the response takes, relatively, a lot of time, and makes me wonder whats wrong, only to be surprised with a sudden burst of sound. Looks like Amazon is at fixing the later one.
In an announcement today, Alexa Developers announced Progressive Response for skills. This will help developers to keep the users engaged while their queries are still being processed. In development terms “developers can now send content to users in stages”
Till now, skills used to work as push-button radio responses where both skills and user had to wait till one response is complete. Using progressive response, developers can use that time to inform, amuse, engage, and delight your users. Maybe it can ask another question, and keep it on the stack, add their own promotion, ask for confirmation. Possibilities are huge.
As per Amazon, its a great feature for Echo devices with screen i.e. Echo Show, and Echo Spot. However, in order to be certified as an Alexa Screen Skill, skills should start within two seconds of being launched.
For example, in the updates to the HistoryBuff reference skill published today on the developer portal, the skill sends interstitial text that can be used to confirm that the skill heard the right date and to acknowledge that it is processing the request (e.g. “Getting history facts for August thirtieth.”)