Amazon on Wednesday officially launched the new Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus smart speakers in India, noting that consumers in the South Asian country are already able to purchase all three devices through an invite-only system. The wording of the company's announcement suggests that the launch is meant to mark the start of a beta program of sorts, allowing the tech giant to find a number of tech enthusiast willing to help improve the end-user experience of its devices before they're ready for a wider release. As Amazon doesn't claim that its latest offerings are entirely finalized and ready for commercialization in India, all users who manage to purchase the new Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot via an invite will be eligible for a 30 percent discount, as well as a year of Amazon Prime membership free of charge. All three speakers are currently available for pre-orders and you can request an invite to purchase any of them from Amazon India, with first units being set to begin shipping on October 30th, the e-commerce firm said.
Rumors of the Echo lineup finally coming to India have been circulating the industry for many months now and initial reports on the matter were apparently largely correct, with the new clothed Echo speaker being priced at Rs. 9,999, or just over $150. The Echo Plus carries an Rs. 14,999 price tag ($230), whereas the smallest Echo Dot can be purchased for Rs. 4,499, i.e. just under $70. It's currently unclear how long Amazon will take until it makes its Alexa-infused devices available for purchase to all customers in India but the transition from this testing period to a full-fledged commercial launch is likely to be gradual and may take several months to be completed. The company also said that its IoT devices are to debut in Japan later this year but didn't provide a more specific time frame for that announcement.
While the version of the Alexa assistant that's debuting alongside the three speakers in India still speaks English, it's said to feature a new voice with localized intonation and pronunciations, as well as support for domestically developed skills and an India-oriented knowledge base. Even though the Echo Dot isn't the latest AI offering from Amazon, the new Echo and Echo Plus are, having debuted in the United States only a few days ago.