Amid all the Google fuss yesterday, we nearly missed the news that Amazon was paving Alexa's way to Asia by launching in India first, with Japan said to be following later this year.
The new second-gen Echo, the Echo Plus, and the Echo Dot will be available exclusively on Amazon.in by invitation, so you'll need to request one and hope for the best. If you decide to grab one, expect shipping to begin on the week of October 30. And if you want to wait, Amazon says the Echos will come to Croma and Reliance Digital stores after the invite period is over (no deadline set for that).
The Echo will come in black, grey, and white and will be sold for ₹9,999 ($153 approx), the Echo Plus will be available in black and costs ₹14,999 ($230), and the Echo Dot is ₹4,999 ($76). Those prices include taxes, but they're very expensive, so to make them more palatable Amazon is offering one year Prime membership free and taking 30% off the price. That puts them on parity with the US prices.
Amazon has also announced that its streaming service Prime Music will come soon to India and will be available free as an exclusive preview to invite-only Echo users. Prime members should also expect to get it for free.
And lastly, Amazon has also expanded language support for the Alexa Skills Kit to include English (India). That joins English (US), English (UK), and German among the possible languages supported. Alexa Voice Service is also coming to India so hardware makers can start developing devices with Alexa built-in tailored for the Indian market. You can read more about those here.
Amazon Introduces Alexa and the All-New Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot to India
Alexa is a cloud-based voice service that is always getting smarter—she answers questions, plays music, turns the lights on and off, gives sports scores, checks the weather, and more
Amazon Echo is a revolutionary device designed entirely around your voice—priced at just ₹9,999, it’s always ready, hands-free, and fast—just ask Alexa and get answers instantly
Echo Plus integrates a built-in smart home hub to easily connect your smart devices—set up and start controlling lights in minutes—no additional hub required and costs ₹14,999
*Put an Echo Dot in every room to interact with Alexa throughout your home—connect it to an external speaker or use it as a standalone device to access all the capabilities of Alexa for just ₹4,499 *
Amazon Prime Music is coming soon to India—available as an exclusive preview on Echo
Echo devices will be available by invitation to customers who want to help shape Alexa as she evolves—invited customers will receive an introductory 30% off purchase price of Echo devices & one year of Prime membership
NEW DELHI—4 October, 2017—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. Customers 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. As a thank you, 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 are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they are always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—since Alexa runs in the cloud, the service is always getting smarter. Just ask, and Alexa will 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 customised 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, localised 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.”
Customers in the US, UK and Germany have left more than 100,000 5-star reviews for Echo and Echo Dot—here’s what they’re saying:
- "I love, love, love Alexa. I use it every single day. I can't even count how many people I have
recommended Echo to."
- “Echo is easy to setup and easy to use. I love it. Five stars out of five.”
- “An ingenious device. Already firmly integrated into the family. Become indispensable. Great sound and beautiful design. A must have for every technology freak
Amazon Echo—The Hands-Free, Always On Speaker for just ₹9,999
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
2nd Generation Far-Field Voice Recognition with Beam Forming Technology
Amazon Echo has an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation so it can clearly hear you from across the room. This advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, the music currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even when in a noisy room.
Omnidirectional, Room-Filling Sound
Amazon Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its 2.5” down-firing woofer, dedicated tweeter, Dolby processing, and 360° omni-directional audio deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. Echo can stream music directly from popular music services such as Amazon Prime Music, Saavn, TuneIn, and more. Echo is also Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream music directly from your phone or tablet.
Designed to Disappear
Amazon Echo is designed to disappear into your home. Pick from a variety of shell colors and finishes to fit into your home’s décor—choices include charcoal, sandstone, and heather gray.
Echo Plus—Set Up Your Smart Home in Minutes for ₹14,999
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 Dot—Add Alexa to Any Room for Only ₹4,499
Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Echo Dot 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. 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.
Alexa—The Brain Behind Amazon Echo
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot 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 is always getting smarter. With Alexa, you can use just your voice to:
Hear the News
Alexa can read the news and give customised updates based on your preferences. You can choose your favorite outlets to provide the news or sports results, including The Times of India, NDTV, Reuters, and ESPNcricinfo. Just say “Alexa, what’s the news?” or “Alexa, read my flash briefing.”
Get the Weather
Ask Alexa about local, national, and international weather forecasts. For example: “Alexa, will it rain tomorrow?”, “Alexa, what’s the weather in Mumbai?”, or “Alexa, what’s the weather in Bangalore this weekend?”
Alexa offers a seamless, hands-free music experience with premier music services including Amazon Prime Music, Saavn, TuneIn, and more. Control volume and playback for millions of songs by saying “Alexa, turn it up” or “Alexa, skip this song.” If you aren’t sure who an artist is, just say “Alexa, which song is this?”
Amazon Prime Music 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 catalogue of English and multiple Indian language songs. Listening to music with Alexa is as simple as saying “Alexa, play Bollywood songs” or “Alexa, play Arijit Singh songs.” If you’re in the mood to relax, say “Alexa, play smooth jazz,” or for your morning workout, simply say “Alexa, play my workout mix.” Amazon Prime Music is coming soon exclusively for Prime members at no extra cost.
Listen to Music Everywhere
You can also group multiple Echo devices and synchronise them to stream the same music in every room. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “drawing room.” Once you’ve created the group, simply say “Alexa, play Bhangra in the drawing room.”
Control your Smart Home
Use Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all using just your voice. Alexa works with devices such as smart lights and plugs from brands including Philips, SYSKA LED, Oakter, TP-Link, and more.
Ask Alexa all kinds of questions, including those about 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.”
Follow your Favorite Sports Teams
Ask Alexa for live scores or scores for completed games, find out when your favorite team plays their next game, and more. Just ask “Alexa, what is India’s cricket score?”, “Alexa, when is India’s cricket match?”
Set Timers and Alarms
Set up multiple alarms and timers with your voice, including setting repeating alarms. Just say “Alexa, wake me up at 6 tomorrow morning,” “Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?”, or “Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Tuesday at 9:00 am.”
Create Shopping and To-Do Lists
Alexa can help you stay organised by creating and managing your To-Do and Shopping lists. Just say “Alexa, add ‘garam masala’ to my Shopping list,” “Alexa, put ‘change oil’ on my To-Do list,” or “Alexa, what’s on my Shopping list?”
Check your Calendar
Ask Alexa to add or read events from the Google Calendar or read events from shared calendars. Just say “Alexa, what’s on my calendar tomorrow at 9:00?”, “Alexa, add an event to my calendar,” or “Alexa, add ‘shopping’ to my calendar for Saturday at 10:00.”
Echo Spatial Perception (ESP)
If you have multiple Echo devices within hearing distance, Amazon’s ESP technology intelligently calculates the clarity of the your voice and determines which Echo is closest and should respond to the request—instantly. This feature is smart—performance gets better over time, so ESP will continuously improve as you use Echo. In multi-Echo households, ESP resolves the problem of two Echo devices answering you at the same time.
Third Party Skills
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.
Pricing and Availability
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. 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. 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.
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