Amazon Exports Alexa Voice Service to Ecuador, Hong Kong, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand
Amazon is exporting the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to Ecuador, Hong Kong, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand. Device manufacturers in those five countries will be able to embed Alexa into their products, augmented with local data and unique features as Amazon continues its ongoing AVS expansion across the globe.
AVS streamlines the integration of Alexa into third-party devices and offers more flexibility and features than developers in those countries had been able to access. The resulting smart speakers, wireless earbuds, TVs, and even cars will be able to link with more smart home devices and host more communications and entertainment options as a result. AVS enables Alexa to communicate in the U.S. version of Spanish in Ecuador, and the U.S. version of English in the other four locations. In other ways, AVS makes Alexa a very local service. The voice assistant will respond as a local when answering questions about the weather, local sports teams, holidays, and celebrity gossip. The usses can also hear local news and local music via both AMU and TuneIn. The designers still need to get certified by Amazon before starting their “Alexa Built-in” device creation, but that’s been standard practice for Amazon for a while.
“You can now offer your Alexa Built-in products to more customers, with a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. Customers can listen to popular content and their favorite musicians on Amazon Music Unlimited (AMU) and Spotify in Ecuador and Spotify in Hong Kong, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “Other supported popular features include timers, alarms, weather, smart home, Alexa-to-Alexa calling, and more.”
The sudden burst of new AVS locations comes after a slowdown following AVS’ arrival in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last year. Before that, new countries seemed to be on the cusp of adding AVS every few months. AVS came to Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru last April, only a month after Poland and Sweden and slightly longer after Colombia and the Netherlands signed up. They are all largely the same format, with the main variation being one of language or occasional differences in Amazon features. This appears to be Amazon’s preferred method for expanding Alexa’s place in the world. This way, the Alexa users in those countries can immediately start using the third-party apps in the Alexa Skill Store, instead of needing to build up a local community of developers ahead of time. To expand the number of Alexa users in a country as quickly as possible, Amazon may have found it to be better to get the skills and features into play before localizing the language.