For many, the wait is finally over as Amazon has introduced its assistant Alexa in India, along with Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. Amazon has said that Alexa will deliver a customized Indian experience, which includes a new English voice with local pronunciations and intonation. Support for Indian music titles, names and places, local knowledge and local skills has also been added. The Amazon Echo costs ₹9,999, the Echo Plus is priced at ₹14,999, and the Echo Dot comes for a very nominal price of ₹4,499.
Commentim on the launch in India, Dave Limp, Senior vice president or Amazon Devices and Services said, “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.”
As of now, consumers can request an invitation to purchase the devices via Amazon India website and eligible customers will receive an introductory offer which will offer a discount of 30% off on Echo devices and one year of Amazon Prime membership bundled with it. The devices will start shipping from October 30th. Amazon has also said that both Alexa and the Echo will be launched in Japan later in the year. Well, seems like Amazon is also ready for a face-off with Google and Samsung in the AI Race. Now let’s have a look at Echo Devices and Alexa.
1. Amazon Echo- A Hands-Free, Always On Speaker for just ₹9,999
Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows users to access Alexa from anywhere in the room with far-field voice control. The on-device software is used to detect the wake word, “Alexa.” Right, when it detects the wake word, the light ring turns blue and it begins streaming the request to the cloud where Alexa processes the request. Amazon Echo has an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, which lets it hear clearly what user says. It’s packed with 2.5-inch down-firing woofer, dedicated tweeter, Dolby processing, and 360° omnidirectional audio deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. It can also stream music directly from popular music services such as Amazon Prime Music, Saavn, TuneIn, and more.
2. Amazon Echo Plus- Set Up Your Smart Home in Minutes for ₹14,999
Amazon 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 smart home hub, Echo Plus can connect to compatible smart home devices easily. Whenever the user will say “Alexa, discover my devices,” Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights. It will work with a range of-of ZigBee-supported products from Philips Hue initially.
3. Echo Dot-Add Alexa to Any Room for Only ₹4,499
Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. However, it is having a sleeker and compact design. Users can take advantage of 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.
Now, these are basically three variants of Amazon Echo Devices, but what powers all these devices is Alexa, a which is the brain behind Amazon Echo and Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot, all are powered by Alexa. Built in the cloud, and with tens of thousands of third-party developers around the world creating skills, the Alexa service will be always getting smarter with time. Alexa can read the news for you and that too is customizable, you can hear news from your favorite media houses and publishers including The Times of India, NDTV, Reuters, and ESPNcricinfo. Not just that, Alexa will help you know if you need to take an umbrella with you as it will also provide weather information. Alexa also offers a seamless, hands-free music experience with premier music services including Amazon Prime Music, Saavn, TuneIn, and more. Volume and music controls are also easy to manage with just your voice. Amazon Prime Music, which is set to make its debut in India, will soon be available as an exclusive preview to invite-only Echo customers at no additional cost. Customers can enjoy their favorite music ad-free and on-demand across a wide catalog of English and multiple Indian language songs. You can also setup multiple Echo devices to sync them to stream the same music.
With Alexa, you may never run out of answers for many questions. You can ask questions related to famous people, dates, places, calculations, conversions, spelling, and much more. For example, “Alexa, what time is sunrise in Mumbai?”, “Alexa, how many days until Diwali?”, “Alexa, what’s the length of the Kaveri river?”, or “Alexa, how do you spell Tiruchinappalli?” Or, ask Alexa for a joke by saying “Alexa, tell me a joke.” Alexa is also capable of setting alarms for you before you go to bed, you can manage shopping and To-Do Lists, check the calender and much more.
Developers can use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to build skills. More than 10,000 skills will be available at launch with Alexa in India. These skills add even more capabilities like ordering a favorite takeaway from popular services like Freshmenu or Zomato, requesting a ride from Uber or Ola, preparing dinner with the help of recipes from Tarla Dalal and more.
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. For a limited time, eligible customers will receive an introductory discount of 30% off the purchase price of Echo devices and one year of Prime membership. Devices will ship beginning the week of October 30th. Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot will also be available at Croma, Reliance Digital stores and other offline retailers following the invite-only period.