Amazon today announced that Alexa, the brain that powers Amazon Echo, is coming to India, along with three Alexa-enabled devices: Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot.
Those who want to help further the development of Alexa and the Echo family of devices may request an invitation to purchase devices beginning today at www.amazon.in. Eligible customers will also receive an introductory discount of 30% off the purchase price of Echo devices and one year of Prime membership. However, the offer is only valid for a limited period of time.
The shipping of all the devices will start on October 30. For those who are not aware, Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers. Alexa is the brain behind Echo; since Alexa runs in the cloud, the service is always getting smarter.
Alexa can answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check the calendar, provide sports scores, control lights at home, and much more. With Echo's far-field voice control, you can do all this from across the room using just your voice.
In India, Alexa delivers a customized Indian experience, including an all-new English voice with local pronunciations and intonation; support for music titles, names, and places in additional non-English languages; local knowledge; and local skills from Indian developers.
Third-party developers in India are already building new, localized skills for Alexa, and over 10,000 skills will be available for customers in India, including skills from Saavn, Times of India, ESPNcricinfo, Ola, Freshmenu, and more.
"Tens of millions of customers are already using Alexa, and today we're excited to bring her to India with an all-new experience designed from the ground up for our customers in India," said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices, and Services.
"The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more; just ask," he added further.
Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows you to access Alexa from anywhere in the room with far-field voice control. It uses on-device software to detect the wake word, "Alexa." When Echo detects the wake word, the device's light ring turns blue and begins streaming the request to the cloud where Alexa processes the request.
Since Alexa is built in the cloud and leverages Amazon Web Services, the Alexa Voice Service is always getting smarter and adding more functionality.
Amazon Echo is available in three color options: Charcoal, Sandstone, and Heather Gray. The device is priced at Rs. 9,999.
Echo Plus includes all the features of Echo, including room-filling sound powered by Dolby and a far-field microphone array, and adds a built-in smart home hub.
With the built-in smart home hub, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easy. Just say "Alexa, discover my devices," and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, without the need for additional hubs or apps. This simple set-up works initially with a variety of ZigBee-supported products from Philips Hue.
Echo Plus carries a price tag of Rs.14,999.
Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo.
It has a sleek and compact design, comes in either black or white, and is designed so you can put an Echo Dot into every room. You can use the built-in speaker to talk with Alexa and listen to music, or Echo Dot can directly connect to speakers through Bluetooth or by using a 3.5mm stereo cable, enabling you to add Alexa to any home entertainment system.
Echo Dot will be sold at Rs. 4,499.
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are available by invitation to customers who want to help shape and develop Alexa and the Echo family of devices as they evolve in India. You can request an invitation to purchase Echo at www.amazon.in/echo, Echo Plus at www.amazon.in/echoplus, and Echo Dot at www.amazon.in/echodot.
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot will also be available at Croma stores, Reliance Digital stores and other offline retailers following the invite-only period.