Amazon Echo Now Available to Everyone in India, Adds Calling and Messaging
Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus are now available to everyone in India. Echo products started shipping in India in October 2017, but the availability was by invitation only. Amazon never clarified what that meant, but today it is widely available to everyone in the country. Same day shipping is even being offered in Mumbai.
The big news is also that Alexa calling and messaging is also available to Echo owners as of February 15th. The feature is highlighted on the Amazon.in product page and The Indian Express reported:
“Puneesh Kumar, Country Manager – India for Alexa Experience & Devices, said many new features will go live from February 15 onwards. One such feature is the Alexa-to-Alexa calling and messaging feature between two users who have supported supported Echo devices or the free Alexa app on their Android or iOS mobile phones. Kumar said this can also be used to speak to a specific device, almost like an intercom.”
India is a Key Smart Speaker Market
Amazon has targeted India as a key smart speaker market. It is an important market for its online retail offerings and selling more smart speakers can lead directly to more online sales through voice commerce. CIRP found that in the U.S., Amazon Prime members spent 10% more on purchases after buying an Echo device. Google is also targeting India, but has yet to launch its Google Home smart speaker. Thus far, Google has promoted use of Google Assistant on mobile phones.
Don’t be surprised to see Amazon press its early market advantage to build up a local user base before smart speaker competition comes to India. The new launch also claims to add over 1,000 local skills and new music listening features to further entice Indian buyers.