Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

Amazon finally brings Alexa to Aussie shores

Amazon finally brings Alexa to Aussie shores

Amazon's Alexa powered range of devices have been incredibly popular in a number of countries like the USA, the United Kingdom and Europe, it will be interesting to see if the devices are also popular in Australia and New Zealand. Your Echo can stream music directly Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and - of course - Amazon Music Unlimited, is Bluetooth enabled so you can stream music directly from your phone or tablet, and the dots can connect directly - with actual wires (a rarity, I know), to your own speakers. The devices will also be available to buy directly from major retailers in early February.

Amazon Australia announced this week that the new version of Alexa not only has a local accent (and will respond with "No worries" in lieu of "you're welcome"), it also has a broad range of local partnerships to allow the device to quickly integrate into the users life.

Alexa, an "intelligent" personal assistant that makes use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, will feature a new voice for the Australia and New Zealand edition, as well as local knowledge and skills built by Australian developers.

Devices will begin shipping in early February, however Amazon is accepting pre-orders from Thursday. The first one costs $119, the Dot goes for $49, while the Plus model can be yours for $199.

The company's music streaming service gives users access to a catalog of more than 45 million songs.

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Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says launching on Amazon Alexa is an exciting step and will provide customers with another convenient channel to engage with the airline.

Australian customers will be able to ask Alexa to check the weather, the traffic and sports scores, as well as to play music, or set music alarms and timers.

Until recently, "Alexa, play 90's alternative radio on Pandora" was probably the most common phrase uttered in my home.

Amazon Music Unlimited will launch with three monthly plan options: the full access Echo Plan at AU$4.99, the Individual Plan at AU$11.99, or the Family Plan, coming soon, in which up to six people can share a subscription for AU$17.99.

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