The Amazon Echo and Alexa voice assistant is continuing its global roll-out, with the smart speaker available in France from next week. Despite being available in more than 100 countries, Amazon has never made what is arguably its most popular products available in France – until now. The firm didn’t explain why its entry into the market was delayed, considering countries like Finland and Peru had access to both the Alexa assistant and Amazon Echo, but it might be something to do with the AI now supporting the French language.
A bunch of app developers have already jumped on the French roll-out, with localised Alexa Skills already shipping from the likes of Netatmo, Philips Hue, Legrand, Uber, and Domino’s Pizza. Local brands such as French magazine Le Point, and the RATP Paris metro system, have also created skills for Alexa.
Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot
With Alexa’s roll-out, Amazon was of course going to make available its first-party devices. For France that includes the full-size Amazon Echo, the puck-sized Echo Dot, and the smart speaker with a screen, the Echo Spot.
The Echo and Echo Dot will be the first devices to be made available in the country, with French customers able to purchase the speakers on June 13. Amazon has confirmed that the Echo Spot will be available from next month.
Prices vary depending on the device chosen, with Amazon currently offering its speakers at a significant discount. While German customers are currently able to buy the Echo Dot at less than the €59.99 retail price, French customers will get the speaker for €10 less than their German neighbours, as the retailer has set the pricing at €29.99 for a limited time.
The Amazon Echo and Echo Spot are also more affordable, with the RRP of both devices set at €99.99 and €129.99, respectively, although at their sale prices they can be picked up for €49.99 and €64.99 apiece. That makes France one of the cheapest places to buy an Amazon Echo speaker, albeit for a limited time.
Discussing the launch of its voice assistant and smart speakers, Jorrit Van Der Meulen, vice president, Amazon Devices International, comments, “Tens of millions of customers around the world are already using Alexa, and today we’re excited to introduce Alexa to our customers in France.
“We’ve built an entirely new experience from the ground up that honors the French language and culture, allowing customers to just ask to get music, weather, news, information, and more–just by asking. And there are already hundreds of skills for French customers from some of the most popular brands in France.”
Those wanting a good sound experience, as well as the Alexa voice assistant, will not have to settle for the Echo speakers. In fact, a wide variety of third-party speakers are set to launch in France alongside the Alexa voice assistant.
That list currently includes brands like Sonos, with its Sonos One smart speaker being one of the best choices for Alexa-enabled audio, Harman Kardon, Ultimate Ears, Netgem, Archos, Boulanger, and Sowee.
The Sonos One had already been available in France for quite some time, although users found that it lacked Alexa voice capabilities. Thankfully, with this launch of Alexa is France, that will no longer be a problem.
Amazon Prime Music
Those looking to purchase a smart speaker may want to have access to millions of tracks in which to stream on that speaker. That’s why Amazon is also rolling out its Prime Music service to France. This allows Amazon Prime customers to access over two million tracks for free. What’s more, unlike similar free services, Prime Music allows offline playback and lacks ads.
There is one restriction with Prime Music to bear in mind; users are limited to 40 hours of music a month, which for audiophiles will not be anywhere near enough. Thankfully, it’s unlikely that audiophiles would want Prime Music anyway.
If Prime Music isn’t the music service of choice, then that’s not a problem – as the Amazon Echo supports countless other services, including Spotify and Deezer, both of which are also available in France.