Three years after launching overseas, Amazon’s Alexa is coming down under complete with Aussie accent, with the company today opening preorders for its Echo smart speakers in preparation for shipping in early February.
The Echo Dot is currently available for preorder for $49, the Echo for $119, and the Echo Plus for $199 under an introductory pricing offer, or $79, $149, and $229 respectively after the offer ends.
With the launch, a number of Australian companies have also been quick to announce that they have integrated their services with Alexa through the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) suite of APIs, which allow developers to create new skills for Alexa.
Jobs platform Seek will launch a voice-activated job search service, which it stated will allow users to search for jobs and access “unique insights” to help inform their career choices, such as company reviews and employment market updates.
Michael Ilczynski, managing director Australia and New Zealand at Seek, said, “Voice is without a doubt the next big technology trend. Being one of the first brands in the country to develop Alexa skills gives Seek an opportunity to experiment with what type of career content resonates with users through voice search technology.”
Also creating an Alexa skill is tradie hiring platform hipages, through which users will be able to tell Alexa what kind of tradie they need and what area or suburb the work will be carried out in, with the option to set a contact phone number. Hipages will then connect the user with a local tradie who is able to carry out the job.
David Vitek, CEO and cofounder of hipages, said, “When the chance arose for us to integrate hipages to Amazon Alexa, our engineering and product teams started work to ensure our collaboration would come to rapid fruition from a technical perspective.”
Along with Alexa, Amazon will also launch its Music Unlimited offering locally on February 1. Plans will start at $4.99 a month on a single Echo device, individual plans at $11.99 a month, or a family plan giving up to six members of a household access for $17.99 a month.
With Google launching its Google Home smart speaker device in Australia last year and Apple’s HomePod smart speaker expected to launch over the coming months, the idea of the smart home is coming into the mainstream.
Statistica estimates that revenue in the Australian smart home market will amount to US$887 million in 2018, with the average revenue per installed ‘smart home’ currently amounting to US$181.89 as household penetration sits at 19.1 percent.
Image: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Source: geekwire.