Amazon’s Alexa is finally coming to Australia and New Zealand

Alexa, how's the weather in Sydney today?
Image: amazon

It’s not just Amazon itself that is yet to truly launch in Australia.

The company’s Alexa-powered Echo devices are not currently available in Australia or New Zealand, either. But they’re on their way, launching in both countries “early next year.”

On Thursday, Amazon announced the coming of its hands-free Echo device, activated by smart voice assistant Alexa, to both countries in 2018. 

Developers will be able to build localised voice experiences and embed uniquely Australian and New Zealand knowledge within Alexa with the expansion of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) — a collection of self-service APIs — and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS).

You can expect pretty much the same product on shelves in countries like the U.S. and the UK.

Alexa will come embedded with skills from international companies with a local presence like Uber, Spotify, Philips Hue, LIFX and more. 

In Australia, Alexa will utilise information from companies like Sky News Australia, Fox Sports, Qantas and Coastalwatch. Plus, Australian customers will be able to reserve restaurant tables through online platform Dimmi. 

New Zealand developers include Air New Zealand, TVNZ and New Zealand Herald. 

Plus, the launch will coincide with the arrival of Amazon Music Unlimited, set to launch in early 2018 in Australia, according to CNET.

Other than that, Aussie and Kiwi customers can expect pretty much the same product on shelves in countries like the U.S. and the UK. They’ll be playing music, checking the weather, ordering pizza, getting news updates, adjusting their smart lighting, and setting the mood hands-free in no time.

“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 in a statement.

The arrival of Alexa and Echo will come after Amazon’s long-awaited launch in Australia — one that has kinda, sorta happened with a soft launch on Nov. 23, but is yet to be fully unleashed on the public.

They’ll also find a direct competitor with the Google Home, already available in Australia and New Zealand. But with Alexa ready and able with 15,000 skills by now, it could prove a formidable opponent.

We know it’s not until early 2018, but for keen beens Down Under, here’s ten things you can do with your Echo when it finally arrives.

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