Francophiles and proper French citizens can now enjoy the fruits of Amazon’s Alexa after the company debuted the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Spot in France in June. The company highlighted the hundreds of skills available for customers in France from leading brands like Philips Hue, Legrand, and Franceinfo as well as device makers like Boulanger and Archos that are introducing Alexa-enabled devices for French customers.
In early August Amazon gave developers and hardware manufacturers a heads up that Alexa Voice Service will launch in Mexico later this year. Developers can now use the Alexa Skills Kit for Mexico to create Alexa skills to submit for certification and publication when the launch happens.
Hardware manufacturers interested in creating Alexa-enabled products can apply for access to an “invite-only Alexa Voice Service developer preview.” Amazon also announced that Sonos and Bose would introduce Alexa-enabled products in Mexico.
“Tens of millions of customers around the world are already using Alexa, and today we’re excited to introduce Alexa to our customers in France,” Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon Devices International, said in a statement. “We’ve built an entirely new experience from the ground up that honors the French language and culture, allowing customers just to ask to get music, weather, news, information, and more — just by asking. And there are already hundreds of skills for French customers from some of the most popular brands in France.”
Customers in France could pre-order the Echo devices beginning on Wednesday, June 6. Echo and Echo Dot shipments were scheduled to start from June 13, while Echo Spot deliveries in July. Amazon.fr customers can take advantage of drastic discounts on Echo devices — the Echo Dot is 30 euros, the Echo is 50 euros, and the Echo Spot is 65 euros.
France, Canada, and other French-speaking territories such as Belgium and Switzerland represent a significant market expansion for Amazon, which is fighting a worldwide battle with Google for the smart speaker business. Alexa arrived in France via a complete redesign specific to the language, including a new French voice, a help function built completely in French, local knowledge, and several hundred skills devised for France by developers.
Amazon engineers have been promoting the development of foreign language applications with the release last year of Cleo Alexa, a skill whose primary purpose is helping Alexa understand different languages and dialects. In recent years, Alexa has been taught to speak German and Japanese as well as Australian and Canadian English.
With this new launch, Mexico will join a growing list of Alexa-enabled countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, and Canada.
Updated August 12 with information on Amazon’s notice to developers of its plans for launch in Mexico.
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