Amazon’s revamped Alexa could cost you up to $10 a month

Last month, we told you about Amazon‘s ambitions to ramp up its virtual assistant Alexa with AI capabilities that would come with a price, and now, we are getting a clearer picture of what exactly that might mean for your wallet.

Amazon might be considering a monthly fee of up to $10 for Alexa

A recent report indicates that Amazon is gearing up for a significant overhaul of its decade-old Alexa service, introducing a conversational generative AI with two service tiers.According to Amazon employees familiar with Alexa’s development, speaking anonymously due to confidentiality rules, the revamped service may offer a free tier alongside a premium tier with potential pricing between $5 and $10. Also, it appears Amazon does not intend to bundle the premium Alexa tier with its $139 per year Prime subscription.

Internally referred to as “Banyan,” this project marks the first significant update to the voice assistant since its debut in 2014 alongside the Echo speaker lineup. Amazon has reportedly named the revamped voice assistant “Remarkable Alexa.”

Amazon has also reportedly set a deadline of August for its workforce to finalize the latest version of Alexa. The sources further say that CEO Andy Jassy has personally prioritized revitalizing Alexa. In an April shareholder letter, Jassy pledged a “smarter and more capable Alexa,” though specifics were not disclosed.

However, plans for Alexa, such as pricing and release dates, could change or be canceled based on the progress of Project Banyan.

Some Amazon employees who have worked on the project view Banyan as a “desperate attempt” to breathe new life into Alexa, which has struggled financially and faced stiff competition from emerging generative AI products in the last 18 months.

An AI-powered version of the service was shown off in September, but it has not yet been released to the general public, while competitors have rolled out several updates to their chatbots in the meantime.

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Video credit – Amazon

In the realm of AI, Amazon must keep up with competitors like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI, who have garnered attention for their chatbots capable of swiftly responding to complex questions and engaging in human-like conversations. Meanwhile, Apple is also boosting Siri with AI, giving it new abilities like handling tasks within apps. All this pressure Amazon to step up its AI game to stay competitive.

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