Amazon Alexa Skills Kit Arrives in Italy
Amazon announced yesterday in a blog post that its developer SDK Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is now available in Italian. Amazon’s Noemie Cornu stated that ASK is available today and that skills created and certified now will be available when Amazon Echo launches in the country which is planned for sometime in 2018.
“Today we are pleased to announce that developers can start creating voice experiences for customers in Italy using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) immediately. The skills created by the developers will be available to customers from the moment Alexa will be present in Italy, by the end of the year.”
Letting Developers Get a Head Start
This follows a now familiar pattern for Amazon to announce ASK for developers in advance of the smart speaker product launch. Amazon announced ASK availability for Australia 64 days before Echo devices shipped in the country. For France, the delay was longer at 112 days. France is probably the better analogy as it marked the introduction of a new language. Australia could benefit from English-language skills already developed for the U.S. and U.K. markets. The French-speaking market was starting from scratch.
Italy is in a similar situation. A 112-day wait would suggest an Italy product launch of October 9th. That falls within a typical pattern of late September and early October product launches in advance of the holiday shopping season. Below is a chart that shows smart speaker launches and announced availability by country for Amazon, Apple and Google.
|Country||Amazon Echo||Google Home||Apple HomePod|
|Spain||TBD 2018||TBD 2018|
Sonos and Bose Both Coming to Italy with Alexa Onboard
The announcement also said that, “in addition to the Echo family of devices, Sonos and Bose have also announced that they will distribute products with Alexa integration in Italy by the end of the year.” And, Cornu commented, “Manufacturers of commercial hardware that develop products with Alexa integration for Italian customers may request early access (by invitation) to the developer preview of Alexa Voice Service.”
That means Amazon will have some help in the country where Google is already aggressively marketing its Home line of smart speakers. Voicebot noted last year that Echo products were shipping to many countries without language localization but some, including Italy, we not eligible to order. The hypothesis at the time was that Amazon didn’t want to ship to countries where it planned to have language-localized Alexa before it was ready. That line of reasoning is playing out with the Australia, France and Italy launches planned for 2018. More to come.