It's official, Amazon's Echo speakers hit Australia in Feb



The Echo has been available in the United States for years - well before Google entered the market - but this is the first time the gadget has been officially sold in Australia via Amazon's freshly-launched Aussie website.

Amazon Echo, the voice-controlled smart home gizmo that "inspired" Google Home, is finally coming to Australia!

Amazon Music has created about 150 playlists and stations featuring popular and emerging artists from Australia (and New Zealand, because they are getting all of this too) for the launch. The country has been behind the smart home curve, though research firm Telsyte predicts that by 2021 the average household will have 14 smart home products connected.

Back at CES in 2017, Amazon was declared as the victor of the show by commentators - despite the Seattle firm not being officially present at the event - because of the amount of speakers and other devices on display that were compatible with Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant.

"Our skill [the term Amazon uses for Alexa capabilities] for Amazon Alexa devices provides a secure connection between the device and a customer's internet banking account, allowing them the convenience to manage their money".

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Customers can pre-order three devices now - Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot and Echo Plus - with shipping beginning in early February.

The smart home devices will also enable users to create or check calendars, set times or alarms, set reminders, create to-do lists, play music, control other smart home devices including lights, thermostats, smart plugs, and switches from brands including Philips Hue, Telstra Smart Home, LIFX, TP-link and Harmony, and more. Amazon is also a big-time newcomer in Australia in general, having only taken its first orders in the country late past year.

"We know our customers want a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles", said Westpac chief executive, consumer bank, George Frazis. Using the hipages "skill", a user can tell Alexa what kind of tradie is required, where the work is to be carried out, and potentially add a phone number.

From your bank balance to your mobile balance and your smart home devices there's a range of Aussie options to integrate with Amazon's Alexa at launch.

Likewise, AGL said customers could check bill information using Alexa once it launching locally.

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