Amazon Introduces Alexa and Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus in Canada
15 Nov, 2017, 03:01 ET
Alexa is a cloud-based voice service that is always getting smarter—she answers questions, plays music, turns on and off the lights, gives you sports scores, and more
Amazon Echo is a revolutionary device designed entirely around your voice—priced at $129.99, it's always ready, hands-free, and fast—just ask Alexa and get answers instantly
Put an Echo Dot in every room to interact with Alexa throughout your home—connect it to an external speaker or use it as a standalone device to access all the capabilities of Alexa for $69.99
Echo Plus integrates a built-in smart home hub to easily connect your compatible smart devices—set up and start controlling lights in minutes for $199.99
For a limited time only, enjoy special introductory pricing on Echo devices— Echo for just $99.99, Echo Dot for just $49.99, and Echo Plus for just $169.99
Prime Music now available for Canada—Prime members can use Alexa to stream more than one million songs with on-demand and unlimited ad-free listening at no additional cost
SEATTLE, WA, Nov. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Amazon today announced that Alexa, the brain that powers Amazon Echo, is now available for Canada, along with three Alexa-enabled devices: Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. You can learn more and pre-order your Echo device at www.amazon.ca/echo.
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they are always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—since Alexa runs in the cloud, the service is always getting smarter. Just ask, and Alexa will answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check the calendar, provide sports scores and results, control lights at home, and much more. With the Echo devices' far-field voice control, you can do all this from across the room using just your voice.
Alexa delivers an all-new experience, including a new English voice with a Canadian accent, local knowledge, and local skills from Canadian developers. Over 10,000 skills will be available for customers in Canada this year, including skills from Air Canada, TD Bank, TELUS, CBC, The Weather Network, Bank of Montreal, Manulife, Aviva, Yellow Pages, and more.
"Tens of millions of customers are already using Alexa, and today we're excited to bring her to Canada with an experience designed from the ground up for our Canadian customers," said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. "The combination of Alexa and Echo provides customers with hands-free access to music, weather, news, information, and more—just ask."
Customers in the US, UK, and Germany have left more than 100,000 5-star reviews for Echo and Echo Dot—here's what they're saying:
- "The Echo is a great price for a great piece of technology."
- "The Echo is everything I expected. Works great from the start."
- "Echo can fill your space with quality sound and can get you information quickly and hands free!"
- "Love it and people that hear Alexa are very impressed. Best purchase I've made in a long time!"
Amazon Echo—The Hands-Free, Always Ready Speaker
Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows you to access Alexa from anywhere in the room with far-field voice control. It uses on-device software to detect the wake word, "Alexa." When Echo detects the wake word, the device's light ring turns blue and begins streaming the request to the cloud where Alexa processes the request. Since Alexa is built in the cloud and leverages Amazon Web Services, the Alexa Voice Service is always getting smarter and adding more functionality.
2nd Generation Far-Field Voice Recognition with Beam Forming Technology
Amazon Echo has an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation so it can clearly hear you from across the room. This advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, the music currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even when in a noisy room.
Omnidirectional, Room-Filling Sound
Amazon Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its 63mm down-firing woofer, dedicated tweeter, Dolby processing, and 360° omni-directional audio deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. Echo can stream music directly from popular music services. Echo is also Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream music directly from your phone or tablet.
Designed to Fit into Any Room
Amazon Echo is designed to disappear into your home. Pick from a variety of shell colours to fit into your home's décor—choices include sandstone, heather grey, and charcoal.
Echo Dot—Add Alexa to Any Room
Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Echo Dot has a sleek and compact design, and is designed so you can put an Echo Dot into every room. Use the built-in speaker to talk with Alexa and listen to music, or Echo Dot can directly connect to speakers you already own through Bluetooth or by using a 3.5mm stereo cable, enabling you to add Alexa to any home entertainment system.
Echo dot is available in black and white.
Echo Plus—Set Up Your Smart Home in Minutes
Echo Plus includes all the features of Echo, including room-filling sound powered by Dolby and a far-field microphone array, and adds a built-in Zigbee smart home hub.
With the built-in Zigbee smart home hub, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible Zigbee smart home devices easy. Just say "Alexa, discover my devices," and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, plugs, switches, and locks without the need for additional hubs or apps. This simple set-up works initially with Zigbee-supported products from Philips Hue, GE, Osram, and others.
Echo Plus is available in silver, white, and black.
Alexa—The Brain Behind Amazon Echo
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are powered by Alexa. Built in the cloud, and with tens of thousands of third party developers around the world creating skills, Alexa is always getting smarter. With Alexa, you can use just your voice to:
Hear the News
Alexa can read the news and give customized updates based on your preferences. You can choose your favourite outlets to provide the news or sports results, including TSN, theScore, CTV News, Global News, The Globe and Mail, Business News Network, The Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, and National Post. Just say "Alexa, what's the news?", or "Alexa, read my flash briefing."
Get the Weather
Ask Alexa about local, national, and international weather forecasts. For example: "Alexa, will it snow tomorrow?", "Alexa, what's the weather in Toronto?", or "Alexa, do I need an umbrella?"
Alexa offers a seamless, hands-free music experience with premier music services including the all-new Prime Music service, launching today for Canada. Now included in every Prime membership, customers in Canada can begin streaming Prime Music to hear a catalog of more than one million songs, including hundreds of hand-curated playlists and personalized stations – all at no additional cost to their membership. Learn more about Prime Music. Control volume and playback by saying "Alexa, turn it up," or "Alexa, skip this song." If you aren't sure who an artist is, just say "Alexa, which song is this?"
You can also listen to popular music services like Spotify, Radioplayer, TuneIn, and more.
You can group multiple Echo devices for synchronized music streaming in every room. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as "downstairs." Once you've created the group, say "Alexa, play reggae music downstairs."
Voice Control your Smart Home
Use Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, change the temperature without going upstairs, turn on the coffee maker on your way to the kitchen, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Echo works with compatible lights, locks, plugs, thermostats, entertainment devices, and more from brands like Philips Hue, Ecobee, Wink, Honeywell, WeMo, TP Link, Logitech, and more. Simply say "Alexa, turn on the lights," "Alexa, lock the door," or "Alexa, turn on the TV."
In addition, you can use the new Routines feature which allows you to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command of your choice. For example, say, "Alexa, good night," and Alexa will turn off the lights, lock the door, and turn off the TV. You can also create Routines based on the time of day – for example, you can create a Routine that has Alexa turn on the kitchen lights, start the coffee maker, and read the weather forecast at 6 a.m. every weekday and at 9 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
Hands-free Calling and Messaging
With Echo, you can instantly talk to anyone hands-free—no tapping or searching required. Your contacts will see your number when they receive the call so they know who is calling. Additionally, you can send messages via voice or text to anyone with a supported Echo device or the Alexa App. Just say "Alexa, call mom," or "Alexa, send a message to Hayley."
Let your household know when dinner is ready, ask someone for help with a task, or remind the kids to go to sleep — without having to raise your voice. With the Drop In feature enabled for room-to-room calling, instantly connect with compatible Echo devices in your home. Just say "Alexa, drop in on the kitchen."
Ask Alexa all kinds of questions, including those about famous people, dates, places, calculations, conversions, spelling, and much more. For example, "Alexa, what time is sunrise today?", "Alexa, how many days until Boxing Day?", "Alexa, how tall is Mount Logan?", or "Alexa, how do you spell cantaloupe?" Or, ask Alexa for a joke by saying "Alexa, tell me a hockey joke." And, Alexa can even tell you her favourite author, singer, foods, hockey player, and more.
Check the Traffic
Alexa can tell you the estimated duration and quickest route to your destination. Just ask "Alexa, how is traffic?", or "Alexa, how is my commute?"
Follow your Favourite Sports Teams
Ask Alexa for live scores or scores for completed games, find out when your favourite team plays their next game, and more. Just ask "Alexa, what CFL games are on today?", or "Alexa, what are the NHL standings?"
Set Timers and Alarms
Set up multiple alarms and timers with your voice, including setting repeating alarms. Just say "Alexa, wake me up at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning," "Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?", or "Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Tuesday at 9 a.m."
Create Shopping and To-Do Lists
Alexa can help you stay organized by creating and managing your To-Do and Shopping lists. Just say "Alexa, add dog food to my Shopping list," "Alexa, put 'change oil' on my To-Do list," or "Alexa, what's on my Shopping list?"
Check your Calendar
Ask Alexa to add or read events from the Google Calendar or read events from shared calendars. Just say "Alexa, what's on my calendar tomorrow at 9 a.m.?", "Alexa, add lunch with grandma to my calendar," or "Alexa, add 'shopping' to my calendar for Saturday at 10 a.m."
Echo Spatial Perception (ESP)
If you have multiple Echo devices within hearing distance, Amazon's ESP technology intelligently calculates the clarity of your voice and determines which Echo is closest and should respond to the request—instantly. This feature is smart—performance gets better over time, so ESP will continuously improve as you use Echo. In multi-Echo households, ESP resolves the problem of two Echo devices answering you at the same time.
Third Party Skills
Developers can use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to build skills to expand the capabilities of Alexa. More than 10,000 skills will be available this year to customers in Canada. Skills include Air Canada, which allows customers to ask Alexa for helpful information on flights, ticket prices, and baggage carousel updates; TELUS, which will let customers make calls to their friends through their mobile phone and check billing and data usage status; and CBC, which provides localized news flash briefings for customers across Canada.
Other Alexa-Enabled Devices
Hardware developers can integrate Alexa directly into their products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Alexa should be everywhere you might need her, and with AVS, customers can ask for Alexa on virtually any connected device. Devices with Alexa coming to customers in Canada include Toronto-based ecobee's ecobee4 smart thermostat, Ultimate Ears' BLAST and MEGABLAST portable, waterproof speakers with Alexa, and wireless, multi-room Chorus speakers from Canada-based FABRIQ. Tens of thousands of developers around the world are integrating Alexa into their products with AVS, so Alexa is always coming to new devices.
Pricing and Availability
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.ca/echo and will begin shipping December 5. Echo devices will also be available at Best Buy, The Source, Staples, TELUS, Bell, Bed Bath & Beyond, and TSC: Today's Shopping Choice.
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SOURCE Amazon Canada
For further information: Kristen Schaffrath, NATIONAL Public Relations, [email protected], 416-848-1704
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