Lately, voice assistants are becoming increasingly capable, especially with the advancement of AI resources, and so Amazon may be keeping an eye on this evolution to transform its own voice assistant, Alexa, which has already been on the market for about of a decade.

According to some reliable sources, the idea is for the company to bring a significant update to Alexa, driven by generative artificial intelligence, to make it even more powerful and relevant. This evolution, however, comes with a price: a monthly subscription fee to offset the costs of advanced technology.

Read too:

1-year-old girl mistakes old radio for Alexa and tries to use voice commands
Amazon announces devices in children’s versions and exclusive Alexa mode for chatting with children

Evolution will come with monthly subscription

According to reliable sources at CNBC who asked not to have their names disclosed, the new Alexa is expected to be launched later this year and promises to be more conversational and intuitive. This update puts Amazon in a strategic position to compete with generative AI-powered chatbots from giants like Google and OpenAI, which shows that these changes are exactly part of a response to the rapidly evolving market where AI capability has become crucial and on the rise.

Still according to these sources, the news will not come for free. The new Alexa will be part of a separate monthly subscription, that is, included in the Prime subscription, which costs R$166.80 per year. However, Amazon has not yet set the exact price for the new subscription. Although the company declined to officially comment on the plans, expectations are high among consumers and industry experts.

Alexa is successful, but needs to keep up with developments

Since its launch in 2014, Alexa has impressed with its voice-controlled abilities. However, with recent advances in artificial intelligence, its functionalities have started to seem outdated.

Last week, OpenAI unveiled GPT-4o, which supports deeper two-way conversations and can translate dialogue in real time. Google also launched a similar voice feature for its generative AI model, Gemini.

With that, speculation began. Business Insider was the first to report Amazon’s plans to revamp Alexa and introduce a new paid subscription plan in 2024. In September, David Limp, former senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon, mentioned to The Verge that the company was considering charging for a more powerful version of Alexa.

Recent announcements from competing companies have been seen as a threat to Alexa and Siri, Apple’s voice assistant for iPhones. NYU professor Scott Galloway even described these innovations as “Alexa and Siri killers” on his podcast. Many users still use Alexa and Siri for simple tasks, such as setting alarms and checking the weather forecast.

This has put pressure on the Alexa division, once a favorite of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Three former employees described Alexa as a passion project for Bezos, who initially received significant investment without immediate pressure for financial returns.

But the situation changed with the arrival of Andy Jassy as CEO in 2021. Jassy was tasked with adjusting Amazon’s business during the pandemic, and Alexa lost priority. Sources indicate that Jassy is dissatisfied with the voice assistant’s current capabilities, considering it below expectations, especially when compared to capabilities easily found online.

Andy Jassy, ​​CEO of Amazon

For example, Jassy, ​​a sports enthusiast, was frustrated when he asked Alexa for the score of a recent game and didn’t get an accurate answer. This reflected an internal concern that the voice assistant was becoming just an expensive alarm clock and music playing device.

Alexa restructuring and future

Amazon is focused on making Alexa a relevant and competitive device in today’s AI landscape. The voice assistant team has undergone a significant reorganization, with many members being reassigned to the artificial general intelligence (AGI) team. Despite having thousands of employees, the Alexa team is being challenged to justify its resources and effectiveness.

By 2023, Amazon has sold more than 500 million devices compatible with the voice assistant, ensuring a solid consumer base. However, the company is now looking to revolutionize Alexa to remain competitive and relevant in a market increasingly dominated by innovations in artificial intelligence.

Source: CNBC


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *