Would You Pay Amazon $10 a Month for an AI-Infused Alexa?

Would You Pay Amazon $10 a Month for an AI-Infused Alexa?

A major revamp of the Alexa platform is on the horizon, and it looks as if it’s going to cost you. Eight current and former anonymous employees who worked on Alexa told Reuters that the project is known internally as “Banyan,” referring to a type of fig tree with propagation roots that grow upwards and outwards. It seems a fitting metaphor for what would be the first significant overhaul of Alexa since its debut in 2014.

Amazon calls it “Remarkable Alexa” internally, though the sources interviewed call it a “desperate attempt” at bringing Alexa back to its former glory. To make matters worse, Amazon is considering charging $US5-$US10 monthly for the privilege.

This new “Remarkable Alexa” will replace Classic Alexa (free) in its current form. “Remarkable Alexa” will have all the AI enhancements, like the ability to answer “more complicated queries and prompts.” It will build upon contextual information on your smart home use, so it’ll know when to start the pot of coffee for you in the morning without you worrying about setting it up the night before. The sources allege Amazon is pushing workers on the project toward an August deadline so that it could have something to show off soon.

We knew last month that Amazon was working on something for Alexa behind the scenes—it’s been working on AI infusion since it teased its capabilities in September. We also knew that it was thinking of charging customers for the ability. Amazon doesn’t make much revenue from Alexa, so at least this way, it could charge for the service while recouping some of the cost it takes to operate such an entity.

Google charges for Gemini in tiers based on how sophisticated your needs are, so it’s not entirely unheard of to pay for AI enhancements. However, Google’s deal is a little sweeter since you can bundle it with a Googe workspace subscription. Google’s AI is also part of its entire suite of offerings on Android, Google Docs, and the search engine. Amazon’s paid Alexa, on the contrary, relies on whatever gadgets and services you have plugged in yourself. There’s not much of an Amazon ecosystem outside its shopping and media offerings.

Reuters reached out to Amazon for a statement on the matter. Their reply is appropriately devoid of any admittance about the report. The company did admit it’s cooking up something new for Alexa. But are you willing to pay $US5-$US10 per month?

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