Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Amazon Japan G.K. said Wednesday it will launch three models of its Echo artificial intelligence-based smart speaker that supports the Japanese language.
Amazon Japan will start shipping the new gadget next week. Orders will be accepted at the company’s website.
The three models are the Echo, the standard model priced at ¥11,980, the compact Echo Dot, at ¥5,980, and the high-end Echo Plus, at ¥17,980.
Users can talk to the voice-recognizing smart speaker to control home appliances and music systems.
To make any requests, users need first to say “Alexa,” the name of Echo’s AI system.
For example, if a user asks, “Alexa, tell me the weather in Shinjuku this weekend,” the gadget will answer the question after browsing the Internet.
Amazon plans to link the Echo with its online shopping website, aiming to create a system in which users can order items by requests to the device.
Echo was first launched in the United States in 2014.
Electronics makers and others position AI speakers as strategic products that could be as popular as smartphones, betting that home appliances that support voice commands will become more widespread in the future.
But a research company analyst said, “It would be difficult [for AI speakers] to become popular like smartphones if users don’t feel the need” for such products.