Amazon today announced that Amazon Alexa and Amazon Echo are now available in Ireland. Customers in Ireland can get the Alexa experience available in the United Kingdom on the all-new Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus, with skills from local developers including RTÉ News, Ryanair, Irish Radioplayer, Dublin’s FM104, and more. Customers can order from www.amazon.co.uk/echo and pay in Euro at checkout.
The all-new Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are powered by the Alexa Voice Service. Built in the cloud, and with tens of thousands of third party developers around the world creating skills, Alexa is always getting smarter. With Alexa, you can use just your voice to:
Hear the News
Alexa can read the news and give customised updates based on your preferences. You can choose your favourite outlets to provide the news or sports results, including RTÉ and others. Just say “Alexa, what’s the news?”, or “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?”
Get the Weather
Ask Alexa about local, national, and international weather forecasts. For example: “Alexa, will it snow tomorrow?”, “Alexa, what’s the weather in Dublin?”, “What’s the weather in Cork next weekend”, or “Alexa, do I need an umbrella?”
Alexa offers a seamless, hands-free music experience with premier music services including the all-new Amazon Music Unlimited. Customers in Ireland can begin streaming from a catalogue of more than 40 million songs, including a wide selection of hand-curated playlists and personalised stations. Control volume and playback by saying “Alexa, turn it up”, or “Alexa, skip this song.” If you aren’t sure who an artist is, just say “Alexa, which song is this?”
You can also listen to popular music services like Spotify, Irish Radioplayer, TuneIn, and more.
You can group multiple Echo devices for synchronised music streaming in every room. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “downstairs.” Once you’ve created the group, say “Alexa, play rock music downstairs.”
Hands-free Calling and Messaging
With Echo, you can instantly make hands-free calls and send messages via voice or text to anyone with a supported Echo device or the Alexa App. No tapping or searching required—just say “Alexa, call Dad,” or “Alexa, send a message to Emma.”
Voice Control your Smart Home
Use Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, change the temperature without going downstairs, or dim the lights from the sofa to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Echo works with compatible lights, plugs, thermostats, and more from brands like Philips Hue, Hive, Honeywell, TP-Link, Wemo, and more. Simply say “Alexa, turn on the lights,” or “Alexa, set the living room to 21 degrees.”
In addition, you can use the new Routines feature, which allows you to automate a series of customisable actions using a single voice command of your choice. For example, say, “Alexa, good night,” and Alexa will turn off the lights and lock the door. You can also create Routines based on the time of day – for example, you can create a Routine that has Alexa turn on the kitchen lights, get traffic information, and read the weather forecast at 6am every weekday and at 9am every Saturday and Sunday.
Ask Alexa all kinds of questions. For example, “Alexa, what time is sunset today?”, “Alexa, how many days until Easter?”, or “Alexa, how do you spell xylophone?” Or ask Alexa for a joke by saying “Alexa, tell me a joke.” Alexa can even tell you her favourite author, singer and foods, or even help with calculations, conversions, spelling, and much more.
Check the Traffic
Alexa can tell you the estimated duration and quickest route to your destination. Just ask “Alexa, how is traffic?”, or “Alexa, how is my commute?”
Get scores from the Premier League, Champions League, F1 and more
Ask Alexa for live scores or scores for completed games, find out when your favourite team plays their next game, and more. Just ask “Alexa, what’s my sports update?”, or “Alexa, what’s the Liverpool score?” Get football updates from the Premier League, Champions League, La Liga and more, with additional updates for rugby, cricket, F1, NASCAR and others.
Set Timers and Alarms
Set up multiple alarms and timers with your voice, including setting repeating alarms. Just say “Alexa, wake me up at 6am tomorrow morning,” “Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?”, or “Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Tuesday at 9am”
Create Shopping and To-Do Lists
Alexa can help you stay organized by creating and managing your To-Do and Shopping lists. Just say “Alexa, add dog food to my Shopping list,” “Alexa, put ‘call the plumber’ on my To-Do list,” or “Alexa, what’s on my Shopping list?”
Check your Calendar
Ask Alexa to add or read events from the Google Calendar or read events from shared calendars. Just say “Alexa, what’s on my calendar tomorrow at 9am?”, “Alexa, add dinner with Nana to my calendar,” or “Alexa, add ‘shopping’ to my calendar for Saturday at 10am.”
Echo Spatial Perception (ESP)
If you have multiple Echo devices within hearing distance, Amazon’s ESP technology intelligently calculates the clarity of your voice and determines which Echo is closest and should respond to the request—instantly. This feature is smart—performance gets better over time, so ESP will continuously improve as you use Echo. In multi-Echo households, ESP resolves the problem of two Echo devices answering you at the same time.
Use third party skills
Developers can use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to build skills to expand the capabilities of Alexa. Thousands of skills are available to customers in Ireland, from local developers including RTÉ, Ryanair, Dublin’s FM104, Irish Radioplayer, and more.
Use other Alexa-enabled devices
Hardware developers can integrate Alexa directly into their products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Alexa should be everywhere you might need her, and with AVS, customers can ask for Alexa on virtually any connected device. Tens of thousands of developers around the world are integrating Alexa into their products with AVS, so Alexa is always coming to new devices.
You can also let your household know when dinner is ready, ask someone for help with a task, or remind the kids to go to sleep—without having to raise your voice. With the Drop In feature enabled for room-to-room calling, instantly connect with compatible Echo devices in your home. Just say “Alexa, drop in on the kitchen.”
Additionally, Amazon has also expanded the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to enable developers around the world to build voice experiences for Alexa customers in Ireland.
“The customer response to Alexa and Echo across the world has been incredibly positive, and we’re excited to make them available to customers in Ireland,” said Jorrit Van Der Meulen, Vice President, Amazon Devices International. “Customers can just ask Alexa to provide information, play music, make calls, send messages, and use thousands of skills—including locally-developed skills from developers including RTÉ, Irish Radioplayer, Ryanair and more.”
Amazon Echo—Hands-Free, Always Ready, and Fast
Echo is designed around your voice, and is hands-free and always ready. Just ask for information, music, news, weather, and more from across the room and get results instantly. Echo uses far-field voice recognition with an array of seven microphones to clearly hear you from across the room, while advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, and even competing speech.
The all-new Amazon Echo features 2nd generation far-field voice technology, and its audio design includes a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5” down-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass. Echo is designed to disappear into your home, with a variety of shell colours and finishes to fit into your home’s décor—choices include Charcoal, Sandstone, and Heather Grey.
Echo Plus includes all the features of Echo, including room-filling sound powered by Dolby and a far-field microphone array, and adds a built-in smart home hub to help customers start their smart home. To help customers get started with their smart home, a Philips Hue smart lightbulb is included with the purchase of an Echo Plus while supplies last.
Echo Dot uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo, and is designed so you can put an Echo Dot into every room.
Use the built-in speaker to talk to Alexa and listen to music, or connect to speakers through Bluetooth or a 3.5mm stereo cable.
Alexa—The Brain Behind Amazon Echo
Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so she’s always getting smarter. Just ask and she’ll answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check your calendar, and much more. Customers in Ireland will be able to access the majority of features currently available in the UK on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus—including the ability to make calls and send messages from Echo to Echo, or to and from the Alexa app for iOS and Android.
Amazon Music Unlimited—now in Ireland, and streaming on Alexa
Alexa offers a seamless, hands-free music experience with premier music services including the all-new Amazon Music Unlimited service—also available in Ireland. Customers in Ireland can stream Amazon Music Unlimited to hear a catalogue of more than 40 million songs, including a wide-selection of hand-curated playlists and personalised stations. Using just their voice, customers can search for music by artist, album, track or genre, and control volume and playback by saying “Alexa, turn it up”, or “Alexa, skip this song” If you aren’t sure who an artist is, just say “Alexa, which song is this?”
Amazon Music Unlimited is €9.99 per month for an individual plan, or €14.99 per month for a family plan covering up to six family members. Customers can also get an exclusive Echo subscription plan available for only €3.99 per month for a single Amazon Echo device, with full access to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Alexa Skills Kit—Developers Can Create New Skills for Alexa
Amazon has made the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) available to developers interested in building skills for customers in Ireland. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. No experience with speech recognition or natural language understanding is required—Amazon does all the work to hear, understand, and process the customer’s spoken request so a developer doesn’t have to. In addition to offering skills from Spotify, Philips Hue, IKEA, Hive and more, Alexa also has skills from Irish developers including RTÉ, Ryanair, Irish Radioplayer and more.
Alexa Voice Service—Device Makers Can Integrate Alexa into Their Devices
The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device. Through AVS, hardware manufacturers can build Alexa-enabled products and offer customers in Ireland access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. AVS provides developers with access to a suite of resources to quickly and easily build Alexa-enabled products, including APIs, hardware development kits, software development kits, and documentation.
Developers can learn more about the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service here: https://developer.amazon.com/alexa.
Pricing and Availability
Customers in Ireland can order Amazon Echo from just £89.99, Echo Plus for just £139.99, and Echo Dot for just £49.99 from Amazon.co.uk, with the option to pay in Euro at checkout, with Irish credit cards, and ship directly to addresses in Ireland. For more information on Echo devices, visit www.amazon.co.uk/echo.