Amazon Echo Rolling Out Updates Allowing Language Change for Alexa
Jovo co-founder Jan König was the first to recognize that he had a choice of language when setting up a new Echo Dot. Echo Show and first generation Echo smart speakers in the U.S. have for some time enabled you to choose between English-US, English-UK and German according to an Amazon spokesperson and regular device users. However, Mr. König, who lives in Germany was presented with options for any of the Alexa-supported languages.
— Jan König (@einkoenig) August 1, 2018
These languages include English with U.S., Canada, India, Australia/New Zealand and UK localization. Also included are French, German and Japanese. I was able to confirm this on a U.S. based 2nd generation Echo Dot as well. However, another 2nd generation Echo Dot did not have any language options and a 1st generation Echo tower only allowed US and UK English and German as options.
So, the availability appears to be inconsistent across products and even among the same product SKUs. This may be related to the device software version. The Alexa mobile app software version is consistent since it is one app managing multiple devices, but no two devices had the same software version. The device with the option for all supported Alexa languages appears to have the most recent software version based on the numbering schema. Also, this is apparently not an iOS versus Android difference. Some iOS devices had no language options while others hand the limited or comprehensive language selection options. Similarly, Voicebot reviewed Android devices in the U.S. and Europe with both limited options and the full list of Alexa supported languages.
Alexa Access Doesn’t Mean 3rd Party Skill Access
A final point is worth noting. When you switch languages there is a warning that the language selected does not match where you account is registered and that Alexa may have trouble understanding you and have issues with pronunciation. It also appears that you cannot access third party skills localized for another country after changing your language without changing the registration location for the device. If anyone has more information on this, contact me on Twitter. Also, I have reached out to Amazon for more information on these changes and will update the article here if I receive additional insights.