Amazon has announced that it’s finally launching its voice-controlled Echo speakers in Canada.
The Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus are open for pre-order today for $69.99, $129.99, and $199.99 respectively, though early orders will qualify for up to $30 off the sticker price. Amazon said that it expects the devices to start shipping on December 5, while they will also be available in-store at Best Buy, Staples, The Source, TELUS, and a number of other retailers.
Alongside the Echo launch, Amazon is also opening the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service for local developers and hardware makers to create integrations built on Alexa for the Canadian market. Additionally, the company also revealed that its Prime Music streaming service is also now available to Prime members in Canada.
Amazon launched its annual Prime membership scheme in Canada back in 2013, and last year it rolled out Prime Video across the country as well. But despite its shared language and proximity to the U.S., where the Echo first debuted back in 2014, Canada has been slow to gain access to key hardware and services that have launched elsewhere in the world first. The Echo speakers have been available to consumers in the U.K. and Germany since last September, while Amazon has since launched the devices — alongside Alexa — in India and Japan over the past month.
Today’s announcement comes just a week after Amazon also launched its Fire TV Stick in Canada and 100 new markets, albeit a stripped down $50 basic edition without Alexa support. So today is a notable occasion for Canadian consumers as it not only ushers in a triumvirate of smart speakers and Prime Music, but the availability of Alexa quells months (and more) of criticism that Canada was being forgotten by major tech companies. Last month Sonos announced a new voice-controlled Alexa-driven speaker called the Sonos One, which was made available in Canada too but without any promise of Alexa support. Almost a month on from the launch, Sonos fans in Canada can maybe expect Alexa support imminently.
For Amazon, the Echo and Alexa launch comes five months after rival Google launched its Home smart speaker in Canada, while Apple is also gearing up to launch its HomePod, though there is no word yet on when that may land in Canada.
Source : https://venturebeat.com/2017/11/15/amazon-brings-echo-alexa-and-prime-music-to-canada/