Amazon says that group calling is now available for audio calls through an Echo or video calls through an Echo Show. The feature supports up to 7 participants and is available in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the US, and the UK. You can go into the Alexa app to create a group containing multiple contacts and then call that group at once by saying “Alexa, call [group name].” Read more ›
Amazon has launched a Live Translation feature for Alexa that will translate between two languages in real-time. The feature uses an Amazon Echo or Echo Show to translate conversations between English and French, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Read more ›
Amazon has announced a series of new spherical ball-shaped Echo smart speakers. Seen above in the following order is the new 4th-gen Amazon Echo for $99.99, the new 4th-gen Echo Dot for $49.99, the new Echo Dot with Clock for $59.99, and the new Echo Dot Kids Edition for $59.99. While the new Amazon Echo may look just like the new Echo Dots from the outside, they’re quite different on the inside. The Echo packs in premium sound, thanks to its dual 0.8″ tweeters and 3.0″ woofer, as well as a Zigbee smart hub, while the Echo Dots have just one 1.6″ speaker. Read more ›
Amazon is bringing back the Product (RED) version of the Amazon Echo that they first made available for a limited run this time last year. Amazon will donate $10 for every Red Echo purchased to the Product (RED) organization to help fight AIDS. On a somewhat related note, Amazon has started selling an official Red & White Echo Shell, as well as a Red & Green Echo Shell, if the new all red version of the Echo wasn’t festive enough for you. Read more ›
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Amazon has announced that they’re making Echo devices and Alexa available in Mexico. Echo devices in Mexico are already available for pre-order, at discounted introductory prices, and will be arriving on November 14th. The Amazon Echo is currently $1,799 Mexican pesos ($90 USD) and will increase to $2,400 ($120 USD) later. The Echo Dot is $699 ($35 USD) and will increase to $1,299 ($65 USD), while the Echo Plus is $2,199 ($110 USD) and will be $3,299 ($165 USD) after the pre-order period. Lastly, the Echo Spot is $2,499 ($125 USD), which will later increase to $3,199 ($160 USD). Also announced is the arrival of Amazon Music in Mexico. The service will offer over 50 million ad-free songs for $99 per month ($5 USD) and will include a 3 month free trial. This announcement comes just a few weeks after Alexa and Echos made their debut in Italy and Spain last month.
Amazon and Microsoft have announced that Skype calling is coming to Alexa. Amazon Echo smart speakers will be able to make Skype voice calls, while Echo Shows will also be able to make Skype video calls. Those who pay for SkypeOut will also be able to use Alexa to call mobile and landlines through Skype, although that funcitonality is already available for free directly through Alexa’s default calling capabillities. The integration will simply work by saying “Alexa, call [contact] on Skype.” Microsoft says it will arrive on Echo devices 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.
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.
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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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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