Pre-orders for Australian Echo speakers are available from today (January 18th, 2018) via Amazon Australia's website, with the devices scheduled to ship early February.
For the unfamiliar, Amazon's Echo products leverage the company's Alexa smart assistant to enable a hands-free smart home experience similar to that offered by the Google Assistant. Amazon's Music Unlimited also is launching along with the hardware, priced at $5 a month. Content services include news bulletin and weather information, access local knowledge, following favourite sports teams, read ebooks, play music, set timers and alarms, check calendars and create shopping lists.
The two banks have been working behind the scenes with Amazon for months to ensure that Alexa's debut in consumer homes can handle basic personal finance queries as well as order music and goods from the e-commerce giant.
The new Echo, Echo Plus and the Echo Dot are now up for pre-order and will be launching in in Australia early next month, priced at $149 AUD, $229 AUD and $79 AUD, respectively.
Rival tradesman marketplace, hipages, also claimed to be one of the first transactional skill-based services to integrate with Amazon Alexa in Australia. For a limited time, you can get the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus for $119, $49 and $199, respectively.
The entire Echo range will also be carried through retailers JB Hi-Fi, Telstra, Myer and Officeworks.
The launch of Amazon down under was expected to shake up the retail space in Australia, despite many organisations having years to prepare for such a company to enter the local market. Starting 1 February, customers can explore over 45 million songs with no limits on skips via iOS, Android, Web, PC and Mac in Australia and New Zealand. Over time, we'll continue to work with Alexa to build more integration with our current and future Smart Home range.
The new SBS News mobile app for iOS and Android launched in December along with changes to the popular SBS Radio app - which have provided users with greater access to multi-lingual news updates and podcasts on the go.
Tariq Hassanen, Innovation Product Manager at amaysim signalled a move to a whole new way of interacting with business "Conversational interfaces will become ubiquitous in Australian homes within the next 2-3 years".