Amazon announced on Wednesday that its Alexa AI with Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot are all now available in Japan. The move, which the company says took a full year of development, is seen as further boosting its dominance in the Smart Speaker market globally.
See more on this exporting of Alexa to Japan…
Amazon says that in addition to the sale of Echo devices, Japanese developers can now use the Alexa Skills Kit to create Japanese Alexa experiences. Developers are also expected to work on integrating Alexa into a wide range of consumer products designed for the Japanese consumer.
According to the Japan Times news service, Alexa in Japan already possesses 265 skills developed by third-parties specifically for the Japanese market. It describes skills as sort of like “apps made for smartphones.” These skills include Alexa reading the news and booking taxis.
“Tens of millions of customers already love Alexa and we’re thrilled to introduce her to our customers in Japan today, with an all-new experience designed from the ground up for Japanese customers, including a new Japanese voice, local knowledge, and over 250 skills from Japanese developers,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President , Amazon Alexa. “We’re also excited to expand the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service, so developers and hardware makers around the world can create Alexa experiences for our Japanese customers.”
Amazon’s Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot will sell for ¥11,980 ($105.60), ¥17,980 ($158.48), ¥5,980 ($52.71) respectively.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making sure we had a great experience with the Japanese voice, Japanese personality and Japanese knowledge,” Taylor said. He went on to add that Alexa can answer questions on topics ranging from sumo wrestling…to Japanese holidays. And Alexa can even tell Japanese jokes.
All devices will start shipping in Japan next week.
Interestingly, the Japan Times says that both Google and Line Corp. of Tokyo launched voice control options last month, so it appears that Amazon entered the market to maintain parity with other competitors.
Learn more about Amazon’s Echo and other devices by clicking this link…