Amazon Brings Echo Show 8 to India
Amazon has begun selling the Echo Show 8 smart display in India, with shipments to begin February 26. The smart display costs 12,999 rupees, around $183, though it is currently discounted to 8,999 rupees, about $126.
Voice Assistant Rush in India
Amazon has been investing heavily in expanding Alexa’s presence in India for the last several months. The voice assistant added support for Hindi and Hindi/English hybrid language Hinglish to Alexa in September to reach more people in India. And while the Echo Show 8 has already been available in other countries, Amazon debuted its new, portable smart speaker, the Echo Input, exclusively in India in December.
India has become a hotspot for other voice assistants recently. Apple announced that it will start selling its HomePod smart speaker in India just last week. Siri does not speak Hindi as yet, but Apple has included Hinglish in its latest update for the voice assistant. That’s not a problem for Google, who partnered with Vodaphone set up a free, dedicated phone line for people to call the Google assistant from any phone in September while adding support of several new Indic languages.
More Alexa Devices, But More Google Assistant Apps
Amazon is well ahead of the voice assistant competition in India when it comes to percentages. About three-fifths of smart speakers in India are made by Amazon, with Google making all but 2% of the rest in the country, according to a report last year from IDC. The smart display market hasn’t been measured separately, but the Echos Show 8 will be the third Amazon smart display to go on the market in India, albeit the most expensive one available.
Amazon can’t rely on staying ahead of Google and now Apple when it comes to voice assistants in India. The price of the Echo Show 8 marks it as Amazon’s direct counter to the Google Home Hub in India. Google’s smart display costs the same as the Echo Show 8’s discounted price tag. But, Google Assistant is still far ahead of Alexa when it comes to voice apps in Hindi. There are nearly ten times as many Google Actions in Hindi compared to Alexa Skills. In a country where five times as many people speak Hindi compared to English, this is a crucial element for scaling. The almost 33,000 Alexa skills for India are not going to be as popular as the 768 in Hindi. No matter how popular the hardware is, Amazon will need to up that number if Alexa is going to have as big a presence in India as Google Assistant could achieve.