Brian Heater, Hardware Editor at TechCrunch
Amazon announced its intentions to launch the Echo down under during its big AWS Re:Invent show back in November. Details were pretty light on the offering at the time, but now the company’s back with specifics a few weeks ahead of availability.
The new Echo, Echo Plus and the Echo Dot are currently up for pre-order and will be launching in in Australia early next month, priced at $149 AUD, $229 AUD and $79 AUD, respectively. The company’s also offering up a limited time deal, discounting all three by $30 AUD.
The smart home speakers also are launching with a regional version of Alexa, featuring a voice for Australia and New Zealand, local knowledge offerings and skills created by developers in the region. Amazon’s Music Unlimited also is launching along with the hardware, priced at $5 a month.
Australia and New Zealand will prove interesting tests for Amazon’s smart assistant. Echo devices have caught on like wildfire here in the States, but the other markets have been saturated at nearly the same rate as the company’s home country. Amazon is also a big-time newcomer in Australia in general, having only taken its first orders in the country late last year.
The U.S.-based retail giant got off to a relatively slow start in the country, but it’s clearly hoping its latest smart speakers will help jump-start interest in its retail offerings.