Amazon Echo now selling in 28 more countries

Amazon Echo now selling in 28 more countries
Competition in the smart speaker market is about to get more intense. In one day, Amazon has made its Echo devices available in 28 more countries around the world.

The countries include Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Portugal, Sweden, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Jamaica and Thailand. Amazon’s move in effect brings Echo to Latin America, Caribbean, South and East Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Echo devices had been available only in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan and India. Each of the countries has welcomed Alexa’s localization features, on voice skills and Alexa accents.

Amazon’s inroad into new countries, however, will not be accompanied with localized voice assistants. Although Echo devices will be sold in much more countries, Alexa will still know only English, German and Japanese.

Seeing its competitors enter the market on a global scale, Amazon decided to change strategy and rush into more international markets ahead of others.

Google has introduced its smart speaker to the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan markets with localized features. Since the assistant also knows Korean, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi and Indonesian, it can enter other markets more easily.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Siri already knows more than 20 languages and the company has built up global distribution channels with its Apple Stores. It won’t be too hard for HomePod to enter markets around the world.

Training Alexa to speak Swedish, Thai or Greek aren’t likely to be achieved in a short time. That’s why Amazon wants to launch its device first with existing language services.

Some big countries are missing from the 28-country list, including New Zealand, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico and Argentina. New Zealand isn’t on the list because Amazon has promised to bring Alexa and Echo to the country next year. It is reasonable to expect that Amazon is working on localization features for these countries and tailored Alexa experience will be launched soon.

For the 28 countries on the list, Echo will be sold mainly as a hardware device to stream Amazon’s music service. Amazon Music Unlimited offers up to 40 million songs and users can ask Alexa directly to play music on an Echo speaker.

There are three plan options – the Echo Plan includes the music streaming service and a single Echo Dot, Echo or Echo Plus; the Individual plan allows for streaming in up to 10 devices; and the Family plan enables six people in the household to share the subscription. Consumers from these 28 countries can order Echo devices via Amazon.com.


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