Alexa is the brain that powers Echo—she answers questions, plays music, reads audiobooks, turns the lights on and off, gives you sports scores and more
Amazon today announced that Amazon Alexa and Amazon Echo are coming to Australia and New Zealand early next year. Additionally, Amazon will be expanding the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to enable developers around the world to build voice experiences for Alexa customers in Australia and New Zealand.
“The customer response to Alexa and Echo has been incredibly positive, and we’re excited to make them available for our Australian and New Zealand customers early next year,” said Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We also look forward to helping new and existing developers create innovative Alexa experiences for customers by expanding the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service to Australia and New Zealand.”
Amazon Echo—Hands-Free, Always Ready, and Fast
Echo is designed around your voice and is hands-free and always ready—ask for information, music, news, weather, and more from across the room and get results instantly. Echo connects to your Wi-Fi network and uses far-field voice recognition with an array of seven microphones to clearly hear you around the room. Advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation and even competing speech. The advanced audio design of Echo includes a dedicated tweeter, a 6.35cm down-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room.
Alexa—The Brain Behind Amazon Echo
Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so the service is always getting smarter. Just ask and she’ll answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check your calendar, get sports scores, and much more. With far-field voice control on Amazon Echo, you can do all this from across the room using just your voice. With the expansion to Australia and New Zealand, Alexa will bring an all-new voice designed for customers in Australia and New Zealand, with local knowledge and skills.
Alexa will also reimagine how customers experience music, with Amazon’s full catalog on-demand music streaming service, Amazon Music Unlimited, also launching in early 2018. When paired with Alexa, customers can ask for music by artist, song title, curated playlists and more, simply by voice.
Alexa Skills Kit—Developers Can Create New Skills for Alexa
Amazon will also make the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) available to developers interested in building skills for customers in Australia and New Zealand. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. No experience with speech recognition or natural language understanding is required—Amazon does all the work to hear, understand and process the customer’s spoken request so a developer doesn’t have to. In addition to offering skills from Uber, Spotify, Philips Hue, LIFX and more, Alexa will also have skills from Australian developers including Sky News Australia, Fox Sports, Qantas, Dimmi, Taste.com.au and Coastalwatch, and New Zealand developers like Air New Zealand, TVNZ, Newstalk ZB, New Zealand Herald, SKY TV and ZM Radio. These developers have received an early preview of ASK and are already building Alexa skills.
Alexa Voice Service—Device Makers Can Integrate Alexa into Their Devices
The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device. Through AVS, hardware manufacturers will be able to build Alexa-enabled products and offer customers in Australia and New Zealand access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations and skills. AVS provides developers with access to a suite of resources to quickly and easily build Alexa-enabled products, including APIs, hardware development kits, software development kits and documentation. Brands including Harman Kardon and Sonos plan to release AVS products.
The Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service will be available for developers to build experiences for customers in Australia and New Zealand early next year. Developers can learn more about the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service here: https://developer.amazon.com/alexa.
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