Techcrunch reports that Amazon has expanded support for its Alexa virtual assistant to include connected devices Germany and the UK:
Now Amazon is taking its strategy international. Today it announced that AVS will now also work in the UK and Germany, and will understand German and British English.
It means that consumers in any of the three markets will be able to use any device enabled with AVS to work with the full range of Alexa services in that market, and they will be able to set commands to work in any of the different languages regardless of what market they are in.
While Amazon is making Alexa available in three markets and three languages now, not all services will work everywhere. iHeartRadio, for example, is only live in the U.S. today, and so it will not work via AVS in Germany or the UK. Ditto Kindle book reading and traffic reports. Others like Amazon Music, which also expanded to Germany, the UK and Austria last November, will be usable, as will Wikipedia and local Skills — Amazon’s other huge API project that lets developers build their own services to work via Alexa’s voice response system.
Amazon launched the Echo, and the Alexa virtual assistant, in November 2014. It didn’t support reading ebook or playing audiobooks at the time, but Amazon added support for Kindle ebooks in January 2016.
The Echo and Dot launched in the UK and Germany that September, and now Amazon is bringing Alexa to all compatible connected devices in those countries.
And so now you can have your shoe organizer read your ebooks to you – just so long as it has a speaker and an internet connection.
What with Amazon adding “computer” as a trigger word for Alexa, it’s worth remembering that Star Trek predicted a voice-interactive computer fifty years ago. And while Star Trek missed the trend on computers getting smaller and cheaper, it did get the voice interface right. That interface depended on a starship’s massive computer cores – just like Amazon Alexa requires a connection to Amazon’s servers.