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Amazon might launch a paid version of Alexa later this year

An Amazon smart display on a kitchen counter.

Amazon hasn’t had much success monetizing its popular Alexa smart assistant, but according to a new report from Business Insider, the e-commerce giant might be launching a paid version of Alexa to help offset costs. The so-called “Alexa Plus” would feature generative AI, allowing it to provide users with more detailed responses that better answer their questions.

Details are scarce, but it sounds like Amazon is expected to launch the service on June 30. The team first announced it was reworking Alexa last September, which was followed by reports that over 15,000 users were helping test the service under the code name “Remarkable Alexa.”

Pricing information is not yet available, but Alexa Plus isn’t expected to be free. And since Alexa has been hemorrhaging money for years, it seems like this could be an opportunity for Amazon to finally cash in on the widely used service.

Unfortunately, that’s the extent of what’s been made public. Alexa Plus is looking to bring AI skills like those found in ChatGPT to your smartphone and living room — but it’s unclear exactly how that will look. The goal is to have a smart assistant that better understands commands and is powered by a large language model, allowing it to accurately decipher your commands and giving you freedom to speak to the assistant as if it were another person without the need to use specific command phrases.

It appears Alexa Plus won’t bring entirely new functionality to the smart home but will instead streamline performance and make it easier than ever to control your devices. Features revealed in September included the ability to issue multiple commands in a single sentence and to set up Routines by voice. Expect to learn more in the coming months as Amazon goes public with additional details.

Alexa, in its current form, won’t be changing and will remain a free service.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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