Alexa and Echo devices coming to Spain and Italy later this year

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are continuing their global expansion. The lineup just debuted in France earlier this month, and now Amazon has announced that Spain and Italy are the next countries to get Alexa and Echo devices. Alexa’s arrival in Spain is significant because it means Alexa will speak Spanish for the first time, which is among the most popular languages in the world. Amazon is opening Alexa to developers in Spain and Italy now and will release the voice assistant and devices in those countries later this year. With the addition of Spain and Italy, Alexa will be available in 12 countries, which include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

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Alexa and Amazon Echo devices are now available in France

Amazon’s Echo devices are now available to pre-order in France. The Amazon Echo will regularly be €99.99 and the Echo Dot will be €59.99. Both will arrive at customer’s doors on June 13th. The Echo Spot is also being made available for €129.99 but it won’t ship until next month on July 23rd. Prices are being discounted for a limited time during launch. Ordering now will land you 50% off all devices. Once the new devices arrive, France will have localized skills from brands like Netatmo, Philips Hue, Uber, Domino’s Pizza, TP-Link, Franceinfo, Legrand, and La Fourchette. Other Alexa-enabled devices will be coming to France from brands like Harman Kardon, Sonos, Ultimate Ears, Netgem, Archos, Boulanger, and Sowee. France is now the 10th country to receive Echo devices after the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, and Canada.

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Amazon Echo inadvertently sent conversation to family’s contact

A Portland family was surprised to learn that their Amazon Echo inadvertently sent a recording of their conversation to one of their phone’s contacts through Alexa’s calling and messaging feature. Through a string of unlikely events, the Echo interpreted a background conversation as a request to send a message, resulting in what is essentially the modern equivalent of a “butt dial.” Read more ›

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Amazon Echo devices are now available in India without an invitation

A few months ago, Amazon made Echo devices available in India for the first time, but as tends to be the case whenever Alexa arrives in a new country, the devices were only available by invitation. Amazon has now removed the invitation requirement, making Echo devices available to everyone. The Amazon Echo (₹9,999 or ~$150), Echo Dot (₹4,499 or ~$70), and Echo Plus (₹14,999 or ~$230) are available, as well as 3rd-party Alexa smart speakers such as the Harman Kardon Allure (₹22,499 or ~$350).

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Amazon Echo devices and Music Unlimited service are coming to Australia and New Zealand in February

Amazon has announced that select Amazon Echo devices, as well as their Music Unlimited streaming service, will be headed to Australia and New Zealand next month. Customers can place a pre-order for the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Plus starting today. The Amazon Echo is $119 AUD (~$95 USD), the Echo Dot is $49 AUD (~$39 USD), and the Echo Plus is $199 AUD (~$159 USD). All three will be released on February 1st.

Also arriving on the same day is Amazon’s Music Unlimited streaming service. Like in other countries, it will be available in three plan options. $4.99 AUD per month grants streaming access to over 45 million songs on a single Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Plus. The Individual Plan for multiple devices and mobile streaming is $11.99 AUD per month, while the Family Plan, which will be available later, will be $17.99 AUD per month for up to six members of a household to share. New subscribers will get a 90-day free trial.

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Amazon Echo devices and Music Unlimited launching in 28 new countries

Amazon has announced that both their Echo speaker and their Music Unlimited service are now available in 28 additional countries. Pricing for both the devices and the music service will vary by country. Music Unlimited will be available in the same three tiers as in US, which is an Echo only plan, a single user plan, and a family plan. The new country additions include Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, and Uruguay. About a week ago, the Echo was also made available in Australia and New Zealand.

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Amazon Echo now available in (RED) for a limited time

Amazon now offers the all-new 2nd generation Echo in a limited edition red color. The new color is part of the Product (RED) campaign which seeks to raise awareness and funds to eliminate HIV/AIDS. The (RED) Echo costs the same as the other Echo colors, but Amazon will donate $10 to the charity for each one sold. It does not appear as though Amazon will be selling a (RED) version of the Echo shell separately. Along with the new (RED) Echo, Amazon is highlighting hundreds of other (RED) products at Amazon.com/red.

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Amazon Echos, Alexa, and Prime Music launch in Canada

About a week after adding Japan as the fifth country to receive Alexa and Echo devices, Amazon has now launched their voice assistant and smart speakers in Canada. In addition to Alexa and Echo devices, Amazon is also simultaneously launching Prime Music for all Canadian Prime members. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) Review

When the 2nd Generation Amazon Echo was announced, I (somewhat reluctantly) placed my order, even though I had more Alexa devices than I have rooms in my house. Here are my thoughts on the new smart speaker, what you need to know about it, and how it compares to the original Echo. Read more ›

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Latest 2nd Gen Amazon Echo software update greatly improves sound quality

A new software update is currently rolling out to the 2nd Generation Amazon Echo that is, apparently, greatly improving the smart speaker’s sound quality. The new software update is said to make the Echo 2 sound fuller and noticeably improves the speaker’s bass, which was a common complaint from owners of the 1st generation Amazon Echo. Read more ›

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Amazon’s new 2nd-gen Echo has interchangable outer shells

Amazon thankfully decided to make their all-new 2nd-generation Echo in more colors than just black and white. It turns out that the outer shell of the Echo 2 is actually interchangeable and you can purchases additional shells separately if you’d like. The fabric shells are $19.99 each while additional wood or silver shells are $29.99. The silver shell is described as “polycarbonate with a silver paint finish,” so if you were hoping it was actually metal, I’m sorry to say it’s just painted plastic. The oak and walnut shells are described as “wood veneer with an oak/walnut-colored finish,” so it sounds like those, at least, are made of actual wood. The shells are available to pre-order today and will be released the same day as the Echo 2. Thanks @Erinescence for tip!

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Amazon Alexa and Echo devices are now available in India

Amazon is continuing their expansion of Alexa and Echo devices to new countries. They announced a couple of days ago that Alexa and Echos were coming to Japan later this year and now have announced that they’re also being made available in India. The Echo devices are available by invite only starting today at an introductory price with a free year of Prime membership included. Read more ›

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Echo devices can now call US, Canada, and Mexico numbers for free — No extra hardware necessary

All Amazon Echo devices, including the Echo Dot, Echo Show, and the new next generation Echo models, can now make landline phone calls to the US, Canada, and Mexico completely for free without needing anything extra to buy. This is an expansion of the Alexa-to-Alexa calling capabilities released earlier this year which now lets you call regular phone numbers, whether or not the person you are calling has ever used an Alexa device. Read more ›

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Amazon announces new smaller 2nd-gen Echo speaker for $99

Amazon today announced an all-new Echo smart speaker as the succesor to the very popular original Amazon Echo that kicked off the recent wave of home voice assistants. The new speaker is about half the size of the original Echo and comes in a variety of stylish exterior finishes and colors. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo devices now support multi-room audio playback

After several leaks, Amazon has now added support for multi-room audio to the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. The new feature allows you to group together multiple Echo devices and play music on all devices simultaneously. The feature is also being made available to 3rd-party speaker manufacturers so non-Echo devices can also sync music with Amazon’s own speakers. Read more ›

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Amazon likely clearing out Echo supply for next-gen models

The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap went on sale earlier this week and currently remain on sale. Whenever Amazon devices randomly go on sale, people are always too quick to conclude that the retailer must be clearing out stock of the current models because new models will soon be announced. That is usually not what is happening and it’s usually just a regular sale. However, while I hardly ever take this stance, I do believe this current sale is actually meant to clear out stock for an imminent announcement of new models. Read more ›

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Amazon’s next Echo will reportedly be smaller and sound better

Amazon has expanded their Echo line quite a bit since the release of the original Amazon Echo, but it sounds like they’re now working on the original’s successor. A source tells Engadget that Amazon is planning to release the 2nd-generation Amazon Echo this fall. THe new device is supposed to improve on the current model in every way, including size, appearance, and audio quality. Read more ›

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Amazon to turn all Echo and Echo Dots into home intercoms by adding Drop-in feature

Now that you can make calls and send messages with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, users have been wanting to use the devices as home intercom systems. The upcoming Echo Show, which will be released tomorrow, has a Drop-in feature that will facilitate intercom-like communication, but buying a $230 device for every room isn’t feasible for most. Thankfully, Amazon has announced that they’re adding the Drop-in feature to all Echos and Echo Dots, which will turn them into full-fledged intercoms. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo and Echo Dot will soon be able to stream live audio from security cameras

Amazon today announced additional details about the new security camera capabilities of Alexa. Along with that announcement, it was revealed that Alexa devices without a screen, like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, will also have access to live feeds from security cameras. Obviously, since those devices don’t have screens, you won’t be able to view a camera feed using them, but you will be able to say something like “Alexa, listen to the baby’s room” to hear a live audio feed of a particular security camera. While that’s not nearly as useful as viewing a camera, it’s better than nothing. This is also a good indication that easy access to security cameras using Alexa will be coming to other Alexa-enabled devices, like the Fire TV and Fire tablets.

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Amazon Echo & Echo Dot will soon use a yellow light to indicate unheard messages

When Amazon introduced their new calling and messaging features for Alexa devices, they selected a pulsing green light as the indicator of an unheard message waiting to be played. The issue with that is it’s very similar to the spinning green light that indicates a call is coming in, so it’s very easy to mistake one for the other.

Amazon will soon be resolving this by replacing the pulsing green message indicator light with a solid yellow light. Yellow is not used for any other Echo and Echo Dot light ring functionality, so it should be obvious that a new message is waiting, that is, now that you know what it means. If you see a yellow light ring, just say “Alexa, play my message” to hear the message. Amazon says this change will go into effect “in the coming weeks.”

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