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One more bit of news out of tonight’s Alexa State of the Union Keynote at AWS Re:Invent in Vegas. Amazon is finally bringing its voice service to Oceania. After several months of rumblings, the company announced today that Alexa will be arriving in Australia and New Zealand at some unspecified point in early 2018.
In the meantime, it’s opening up its tools for developers, in order to get some skills on the market in time for its arrival. The addition of the two island nations is the latest in a good deal of recent expansion for the smart assistant.
Late last year, Amazon brought the Echo and the Echo Dot to U.K. and Germany, the latter of which marked the first non-English language for the smart speaker. In October, the products arrived in India, and earlier this month, the company launched the new Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot in Japan. Ten days later, the Echo ecosystem expanded its footprint in North America, when it finally arrived in Canada.
The Australian and New Zealand versions of Alexa will likely take a similar approach as the company’s launches in other English speaking countries, which feature a version of the AI with a regional pronunciation and a local knowledge base — both important for understanding and relaying information.
No word on the available Echo hardware selection or how much any of this will cost in the new countries, but Amazon did note that it will be launching Alexa Voice Service there soon as well, so third-parties will be able to add the assistant to their devices.
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