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 preorder today for $70, $130, and $200, 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, and 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 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 revealed that its Prime Music streaming service is now available to Prime members in Canada.
Amazon launched its annual Prime membership in Canada back in 2013, and last year it rolled out Prime Video across the country. But despite its shared language and proximity to the U.S., where the Echo debuted back in 2014, Canada has been slow to gain access to key hardware and services that have first launched elsewhere in the world. The Echo speakers have been available to consumers in the U.K. and Germany since last September, and Amazon has launched the devices — alongside Alexa — in India and Japan over the past month.
Today’s announcement comes just a week after Amazon launched its Fire TV Stick in Canada and 100 new markets — albeit a stripped-down $50 basic edition of the Fire TV Stick 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, the availability of Alexa quells 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, but without any promise of Alexa support. Almost a month after the launch, Alexa support for Sonos fans in Canada may be imminent.
For Amazon, the Echo and Alexa launch comes five months after rival Google launched its Home smart speaker in Canada. Apple is also gearing up to launch its HomePod, though there is no word yet on when that device may land in Canada.
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