Amazon Alexa is one of the more mature digital voice assistants available and finally it is officially making it’s way Downunder.

Amazon announced yesterday that they were expanding the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service to enable “voice experiences” to be built for Australians and New Zealanders.

The ASK is a collection of APIs and tools that can be used to create new capabilities for Alexa. When developing the capability all the work with speech recognition or understanding of our language is done by Amazon. According to Amazon there are already skills being developed by developers from organisations such as QANTAS, Sky News Australia, Fox Sports, Dimmi and after they received early previews of the ASK.

The AVS works on the device being integrated with Alexa. Manufacturers including them into the software of their products will be able to allow their devices to be voice-controlled by Alexa.

The customer response to Alexa and Echo has been incredibly positive, and we’re excited to make them available for our Australian and New Zealand customers early next year Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa

Along with the availability of Alexa, Australia and New Zealand will also be able to purchase Amazon Echo devices. Amazon Echo devices work similarly to Google Home which many of you are familiar with but with the Echo and Alexa being more mature there is a lot more functionality within the app.

The amount of “skills” that Alexa can produce through voice activation on a device is much more than that for Google Home — whether the skills already present within Alexa will all be available to Australians or whether they will be geoblocked remains to be soon.

It is great to see Amazon finally bringing these products here to Australia, especially with them opening their online store here very soon. After using Alexa in a limited capacity on the recently released Sonos One (which can be purchased from JB Hi-Fi now) I can attest to the functionality being greater than Google Home and once the Sonos One gets this full Alexa functionality my Google Home may well be out of a job.

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Far too late.

They should have sorted and released these already, in plenty of time to become Christmas presents. As it is they aren’t going to be able to compete with Google Home, particularly since they are notoriously bad for getting skills and alexa capabilities available outside the US.

I’m looking to get a Home mini for Christmas to replace the Echo Dot – $50ish at the moment from all the usual stores.

Geoff Stewart

Yeh the mini is great for playing my Spotify playlist and asking about the time and weather. Still trying to work out how to send movies to my chromecast quicker than using videostream.