Amazon Ready To Flood Echo in India With Desi Alexa This Month

Will Siri talk in Hinglish soon?

Tech News
3 min read
Amazon Echo. 

Amazon has started shipping its Echo, the voice-assistant enabled device, in India to everyone who booked it via the invite-only system. But you knew that already. Here’s where things get interesting.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon is making its voice-assistant Alexa capable of handling accents of Indian consumers, something that Apple’s Siri hasn’t been able to do so far.

Parag Gupta, Product Management head for Amazon Devices India, has categorically stated that the Alexa coming to India, will not sound or behave like an American. Gupta told Bloomberg:

We wanted our devices to talk, walk and feel Indian. Alexa is not a visiting American, she has a very Indian personality.
Parag Gupta, Head - Product Management, Amazon Devices India

In India, Amazon has customised the use of Alexa, adding localised features, and partnering with Indian apps like Times of India, Zomato, Syska and Savvn for music among others. Echo, Amazon’s wireless speaker and voice command device, is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audio books, and providing weather and traffic updates, as well as other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices.

Also Read: Amazon Debuts Voice-Assisted Echo Speakers in India From Rs 4,499

These might be novelty features for most Indian consumers, but Amazon is mainly targeting its reported 7-million odd Prime subscribers, who can make online purchases without even opening up laptop/mobile screen.

Unlike Google and Apple, who also have similar voice-enabled products (but not made it to India yet), Amazon is looking to take the first-move advantage in the segment by bringing its Echo series which has been priced between Rs 4,000 to Rs 15,000 in India (you also get early set of discounts and bundled Prime subscription).

Amazon Forcing Apple and Google to Jump the Gun

Amazon is intent on pushing these devices, and the move has caught the attention of Apple and Alphabet (Google’s parent company). The Bloomberg report suggests Siri and Google Assistant are being made Hinglish-savvy.

This could mean that launch of Google Home and Apple’s HomePod could be imminent.
Google Home vs Apple HomePod.
Google Home vs Apple HomePod.
(Photo: The Quint)

Every technology giant realises the importance of focusing on the Indian market, and its consumers from a local standpoint. Catering to the local language could help Amazon and its rivals hit it off with the urban consumers.

Speakers equipped with voice-assistant capability are set to become the norm.
Speakers equipped with voice-assistant capability are set to become the norm.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)
Voice prevails over text in many parts of India, and Echo’s initiation can open up mobile horizons for Alexa and Amazon. 

We still don’t know how and when Apple and Google intend to debut the HomePod and Google Home in India. But going by Amazon’s Alexa push, neither tech giant can afford to wait too long. Also, don’t be surprised if Samsung enters the fray with its recently introduced Bixby in the near future.

Also Read: Apple HomePod or Google Home: Which Is Worth the Buck Right Now?

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