E-commerce giant Amazon has chosen India as the first country in Asia to launch its much awaited Alexa powered smart speakers. The company is launching the Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot in India as the shipping begins from the week of October 30. After India, the smart speakers will be launched in Japan.
The Echo series of smart speakers were launched in the US last week. The Amazon Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot are available by invitation only and come with attractive launch offers. The company is offering eligible customers an introductory discount of 30% and one year of Prime membership.
Amazon has also announced that it is very soon going to bring Amazon Prime Music in India and the service will be available as an exclusive preview on Echo devices. After the trial period, Amazon Prime Music will be available to all Prime subscribers. To recall, Amazon recently announced that it is going to increase the price of Amazon Prime subscription from Rs. 499 to Rs. 999 per year.
Coming to the Echo Series, the Echo Dot is the cheapest option for those who want to use the services offered by Alexa, priced at Rs. 4,499. Alexa is a cloud-based voice service that can answer questions, control the lights, check the weather, provide score updates and more. It has thousands of developers around the world that are creating more skills for it.
In India, Alexa will provide a customized Indian experience with local pronunciations, support for music titles, names and places in English and non-English languages. It will come with local knowledge and local skills developed by Indian developers. Amazon has said that over 10,000 skills will be available for Indian users including skills from Saavn, Times of India, ESPN Cricinfo, Ola, Freshmenu, and more.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is the cheapest of the three speakers. It comes with support for Bluetooth and 3.5mm stereo cable. It is a hands-free voice controlled device and uses far-field voice recognition like Echo. It has a sleek and compact design and is shaped like a hockey puck. It can be used to play music, check news, weather, set alarms and more.
It has been priced at Rs. 4,499 and comes in Black and White colour options.
Amazon Echo comes with far-field voice control. It comes with an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation to properly listen to your commands. It is capable of recognising your commands once you use the wake word ‘Alexa’, even when music is being played.
The Amazon Echo comes with a 360-degree omnidirectional speaker and a 2.5-inch down-firing woofer that can play music from services such as Amazon Prime Music, Saavn, TuneIn and more.
It has been priced at Rs. 9,999 and will be available in charcoal, sandstone, and heather gray colour shells.
Amazon Echo Plus
The Echo Plus comes with all the features of the Echo and additionally, comes with a built-in smart home hub. The Echo Plus allows you to connect smart home devices to it. Initially, it will work with ZigBee-supported products from Philips Hue.
You can use the Echo Plus to check the weather, know the news, set up alarms, control the lights and more. The Echo Plus has been priced at Rs. 14,999. In the US, the Echo Plus came with a complementary Philips Hue smart lightbulb and Indian buyers may receive it too.
Commenting on the launch, Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, 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. The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more—just ask.”