Amazon Brings Echo Auto to France, Adds Spanish Language Option in the U.S.
Amazon has started selling the Echo Auto in France and added Spanish to its language options in the U.S. The new territory and language option are part of the company’s effort to bring the Alexa voice assistant into people’s cars as quickly as possible, with half a dozen new countries selling the device since the year began.
C’est Écho Auto
The Amazon Echo Auto integrates Alexa into a vehicle from a smartphone via a thin black rectangle that plugs into a USB port or 12-volt power outlet. The box holds eight microphones and connects with a car’s speakers through a wire or Bluetooth, enabling users to speak with the voice assistant and hear responses as though the car were built with Alexa already in place. The car becomes a smart speaker, with the same abilities as an Echo along with location-based abilities accessible only on the road.
In France, the Echo Auto costs €60, or about $70, which is $20 more than it costs in the U.S., where it debuted last October after a year of testing. In January, Amazon announced plans for international sales, starting with India. Since then Amazon has begun selling the Echo Auto in Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Notably, buying the Echo Auto in France is more expensive not only compared to the U.S. but in the UK and Ireland too, where the price is around $62.
The Echo Auto arriving in France also marks Amazon’s move to grow the Echo Auto’s potential customer base in another way, through language. Before France. India was the only country where the Echo Auto was sold that didn’t primarily speak English, and there’s a huge population in India that speaks English fluently too. It may have been that India was an exception because of the rapid rise in vehicles with voice assistants and Alexa’s ability to speak Hindi. Nonetheless, in France, the Echo Auto will speak French of course. At about the same time, Amazon has decided to offer Spanish as a language option in the U.S. Those language updates may seem small, but nobody wants to have to make an effort to translate directions in their head while they are driving.
And Amazon has reason for at least a little optimism about Echo Auto, even with a higher price point or limited language choices. More than a million Echo Autos were sold in the U.S. even before shipping started. While Amazon is likely to continue pushing for more cars to be built with Alexaas a default voice assistant, encouraging people to use Alexa in cars is going to be crucial for the company’s efforts to make Alexa a tool people use non-stop in their day.