India is the first Asian country, and fourth country in the world to get the much awaited Alexa powered Amazon Echo range of hands-free speakers. The American e-commerce giant has launched Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus in the country. They will start shipping from 30th October.
Amazon had launched the Echo series of the smart speakers in the US last week. For now, the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot are available in India, by invitation only. The speakers will come bundled with exciting launch offers which includes an introductory 30% off on the sticker price and one free year of Prime membership.
Amazon Prime Music Launching Soon
Along with their Echo speakers, Amazon also announced the upcoming launch of Prime Music in India. It will soon be available as an exclusive preview on Amazon Echo speakers. After the trial period is over, Amazon Prime Music will be exclusively available to Prime members.
Amazon Prime Membership Increased
Amazon has recently announced an increase in price of Amazon Prime subscription in India. It has gone up from the current Rs. 499/- to Rs. 999/- per year.
Alexa for India
Alexa is Amazon’s cloud based voice assistant who will be able to answer to your queries, control your smart lights, provide scores and weather updates among many more things. For India, Amazon has customized Alexa so that it can identify and work with local pronunciations, recognize music titles, names and places in English and non-English languages. Amazon has said that Alexa will learn and acquire new skills with usage over time. Users will be able to order food from Zomato, request a ride from Ola or book a plumber from Urbanclap.
Amazon Echo Series
Amazon has launched three variants of its Alexa-enabled Echo series of speakers in India. Each has a different price and its own set of advantages and disadvantages
Amazon Echo is the mid-tier model in Echo series. It has seven microphones scattered around on the body which use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation to listen to voice-commands. It is a 360 degree omnidirectional speaker with a 2.5 inch down firing woofer to play music. It is priced at Rs. 9,999/-, but is available at Rs. 6,999/-. It is available in Black, White and Grey colour variants.
Amazon Echo Vs Google Home
Echo is cheaper as compared to Google Home. In terms of functionality, both speakers can do it all, play your music, answer your questions and more. As of now Amazon is much ahead in this space, at least in India. But Google Home beats Echo in one crucial aspect, Artificial Intelligence. Google has pitched Artificial Intelligence as the future of mobile. Google already has a vast repository of user information collected over the years. Google knows where we live, how we live, our eating habits and much more. Google knows us better than we do ourselves. Going further this could prove to be a deciding factor among these two.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is cheapest among the three. It comes with support for Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio jack connectivity. It features hands-free voice recognition and has all features of the standard Echo. Sporting a sleek, compact design, it can play music, check news, weather and score updates, set alarms and do much more through voice commands. The Echo Dot has been priced at Rs. 4,499/-, but is available for Rs. 3,149/-. It is available in Black and White colour variants.
Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Home Mini
Essentially, Echo Dot and Home Mini are smaller variants of smart speakers in their respective series. Both can play music, answer random queries, enable home automation, set up alarms and reminders, with ease using voice commands. Even though they are priced the same, Home Mini has the edge with Google’s wide range of services over Echo Dot’s versatility.
Amazon Echo Plus
The Echo Plus sports all the features from the standard Echo and supports smart home hub as an extra. The new Echo Plus will allow you to connect with smart home devices like Philips Hue. Additionally, it can perform all regular tasks like checking news and weather, setting up alarms and more. The Echo Plus has been priced at Rs. 14,999/-, but is available at Rs. 10,499/-. Indian customers might get a complementary Philips Hue smart lightbulb with their Echo Plus order.
Amazon Echo Plus vs Google Home Max
Well, these two speakers aren’t really comparable. Google Home Max costs almost three-times the price of Amazon Echo Plus. The Echo Plus mainly acts as a central hub for your smart home (plus a better music device), whereas the Home Max mainly focuses on music services in addition to rest of its smart capabilities. It has an incredibly loud and clear speaker with voice control.
Amazon will start shipping the Echo speakers in India starting first week of November. Apart from Amazon India, Echo speakers will be available offline at Croma, Reliance Digital stores and other offline retail chains.
"Amazon Launches Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus in India - Will Rival Google Home",