Amazon Alexa or Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon. Alexa is for Amazon what Siri is for Apple. It’s simply the voice you ask, things like, “How is the weather?” or “What time is it?”.
Although the official name of the virtual assistant is Alexa, it can be changed to Echo, computer, or Amazon. By intoning the name, your virtual assistant wakes up and is able to access various information or control smart devices in your home.
If you are wondering why the name Alexa, well, the manufacturers chose this name because the consonant “X” is not present in so many words and precisely so as not to create confusion and accidentally wake the device. Alexa is the voice control system launched by Amazon in 2014, along with the Echo speaker.
Where can you use Alexa?
Alexa allows people to interact with technology through voice commands. To use this service, Alexa’s voice must be integrated into either a smartphone or a smart device. It revolves around Amazon’s smart speakers: Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Studio, Echo Dot, or Echo Show variants that also feature a display. On display devices, the information is also given in visual form.
The Alexa can also be integrated into your car via Echo Auto. Echo Auto connects to Alexa via the app on your phone and plays voice responses via your car speakers. This will make you feel safer when you want to start your favorite music, find traffic information, or call someone just by sending a voice command.
In addition to these speakers, Alexa is also found in other devices of third-party companies such as Sonos and Bose.
How much does Alexa cost?
Alexa is a free online app that you can install on your phone. You don’t need to pay a monthly fee and you can use it with a free Amazon account. However, to enhance its functionality and streaming services there are some extra costs. Depending on the devices compatible with Alexa, and what you want to buy, you can spend between about $30 for Amazon Echo Dot, and up to $100 to $250 for Amazon Echo Show.
Alexa does not require a monthly fee, nor its associated devices. Buying an Alexa device is totally your option, and as we mentioned above, you can use it for free on your phone. At the same time, having Alexa devices you’ll also have a smart home, which will transform your voice commands into facts. Here are some of the smart devices that can be paired up with Alexa:
Amazon Fire has been one of the most popular digital media players since its launch, and its integrated Alexa means it is by far the best Amazon Echo Dot accessory you can buy. It is available with the Alexa Voice Remote device, but you can also download the free Fire Remote app (Android, iOS, Fire OS) to control your device with your smartphone. – $69,99
- Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen is around $40
- Echo Dot with a clock is $60
- Echo Dot Kids – dragon and owl for $60
- Amazon Alexa Firestick – $20-$35
- Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot – comes with an integrated microphone when you’re too far away or it’s too noisy for your Echo to hear you. – $29.99
- Echo speakers – the price ranges between $25 to $250
- Echo Studio – $200
- Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) costs around $250
- Echo Show 15 may cost you around $190
- Echo Show 8 2nd Generation costs only $69
- Philips Hue A19 – Smart Light is one of the best-selling smart products. You can buy bulbs, lamps, lamps, lights, and others. $48 – $140
- August Smart Lock Pro – $279,99
- WeMo Mini Smart Plug through an “away” mode you can also set up your device to turn on or off lights periodically to make you look like your home. it is busy even when there is no one at home. – $34.99
- NEXX Garage door Opener – $99,99
- IRobot Roomba 690 is a smart vacuum cleaner – $324.99
A free personal account is enough to use Alexa, but in case you want to enjoy some streaming services you’ll have to pay some subscription charges. The subscription fee is $14,99 per month or $139 per year, and there are no other hidden costs to sync your Alexa with the subscription. Here is the list:
- Access to Amazon Music
- Access to Amazon Prime Videos
- Exclusive Alexa voice deals
- Audiobooks from Audible
- Prime reading
- Prime Gaming
- Free next-day deliveries
- Exclusive Amazon deals
What can Alexa do?
This service, developed and promoted by Amazon, is becoming more and more popular with tech lovers because it can do a number of things like:
- Setting alarms
- Playing music or radio stations
- Playing podcasts
- Calling people from your contact list
- Controlling the smart devices in your home
- Telling you the latest news
- Answering a number of questions that can be answered on the internet
- Telling you jokes
The economic impact of Alexa on Amazon
At the moment, Amazon is facing the biggest wave of layoffs in the company’s history, and the plan is for around 10,000 jobs to be eliminated, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. One of the most affected departments is Amazon Alexa.
The reason is simple: The project never managed to create a stable income. Sure, people bought Amazon Echo speakers, but according to some employees, they were often sold without too much profit margin. The main idea to make these speakers (and the virtual assistant, through alliance) profitable was for the world to buy stuff on Amazon with their voice, but people don’t trust a robot when it comes to spending money, and many prefer to read reviews and to research more before buying something, they don’t just do it impulsively.
Alexa, the Amazon project that has been a “colossal failure” due to the losses, is part of the worldwide Digital group, alongside Amazon Prime. According to The Wall Street Journal, the department lost 3 billion in the first quarter of 2022. Most of this loss was caused by Alexa.
These losses would be double that of the other departments. According to estimates, the department would lose 10 billion. Several current and former Amazon employees. They described Alexa as a “department in crisis.”
Amazon has tried several methods to monetize Alexa, but this has not happened so far. As a result, the department recorded losses. Alexa currently has 71.6 million users in the US. Google Assistant has 81.5 million users, while Siri has 77.6 million.
However, the company’s CEO said Amazon Alexa would be further developed, but not as fast as lately as that involves extremely high costs as before.
Is it still worth buying Alexa?
Yes, it is definitely still a serious option to consider. The smartphone app is constantly getting updates, and Alexa is becoming smarter and it trains as the number of users grows. We constantly see more and more smart devices that mention “Alexa compatible”, which gives us the assurance that you are not investing in a niche smart home system. Alexa is a free app that can improve your lifestyle and help you have a low-budget smart home.