Amazon won’t launch Echo in Australia until next year
Amazon has confirmed that its Echo speaker will launch in Australia, but not until early next year.
While we've all been waiting for the launch of Amazon Australia, a myriad of questions has swirled around the company's hardware ambitions. We already know that its AmazonBasics line of cables will launch here, but it's very much an open question around its FireTV set-top box business, or for that matter its Alexa-powered Amazon Echo speakers.
Amazon has confirmed today that the Amazon Echo family will launch in Australia and New Zealand, but not until "early next year". That's likely to fuel the current rumours that suggest that if Amazon can't get its retail offering off the ground in the next week or so, that it's likely to pause all activity until early 2018.
Amazon's Echo uses the company's existing Alexa assistant to handle voice queries, as well as the playback of music and other information sources. If you've used a Google Home with its inbuilt assistant it's very much the same kind of service, albeit with an Amazon focus.
Amazon hasn't clarified exactly which Echo speakers will launch locally, with the full family covering such devices as the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Plus, Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show and Echo Look. That lack of detail also expands into pricing, which hasn't yet been announced.
What Amazon has announced is that it will bring its Amazon Music Unlimited service to market in early 2018 to provide Echo speakers with music options. Again, pricing info hasn't been disclosed, but it doesn't take Sherlock to work out it's likely to price itself in a similar fashion to services as Apple Music or Spotify outright, or bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription if Amazon Prime launches here at all.
The Alexa voice assistant that runs on the Echo speakers has also been built into a wide variety of home appliances such as smart fridges in the US, although those products have yet to be launched here.
At CES 2017, many brands that sell to Australia noted to finder that they'd launch such ranges once Alexa services were formally available in Australia, so it's likely that in 2018 we'll see plenty of Alexa-aware homewares and gadgets beyond Amazon's own Echo offerings.
Some consumers have opted to order Echo speakers from Amazon US, an approach which can work but with lesser utility due to having to set a US home city for the speaker, as well as dealing with US imperial measurements. It's not clear if users who have imported Echo speakers will soon be able to more simply set them to Australian locales or not.
While we may be waiting for Amazon to launch in Australia, the ACCC reckons the imminent launch has already been a win for consumers, even if local retailers aren't happy about it.
- Product Name
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- Bluetooth support
- Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
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