Amazon has officially introduced Alexa to the Middle East starting with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The virtual assistant can now speak in Arabic and understands local dialects from the region.
Work started almost two years back to develop the personality and Arabic language with Alexa. Local customers volunteered to help Alexa learn the language through an app by going through scripted event. Following that, Amazon employees started testing it internally that has now lead to the launch of it in the Middle East.
Amazon hasn't just made a literal translation of Alexa commands from English to Arabic. Instead, it has gone through the nuance of different dialects from the region along with adding cultural references. Alexa can tell you when the next prayer time is or when the next Eid falls.
Echo devices launch in the UAE and Saudi Arabia
Along with Alexa, Amazon has also announced six Echo devices that will be released in the UAE and Saudi Arabia:
- Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) (opens in new tab)
- Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) (opens in new tab)
- Amazon Echo (opens in new tab)
- Amazon Echo Show 5 (opens in new tab)
- Amazon Echo Show 8 (opens in new tab)
- Amazon Echo Show 10 (opens in new tab)
The Amazon Echo Dot and devices come without any screens while the Amazon Echo Show devices bring Alexa to a display that is 5, 8 or 10-inches along with a camera.
Amazon is currently offering an introductory offer on these devices until December 14th when these devices will be released. This is a great opportunity to pick up Echo devices. Pricing is as follows:
|Device||Original Price||Introductory offer (AED)||SAR|
|Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)||AED 189.99||AED 109.99||SAR 119.99|
|Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen)||AED 229.99||AED 109.99||SAR 159.99|
|Amazon Echo||AED 449.99||AED 299.99||SAR 319.99|
|Amazon Echo Show 5||AED 349.99||AED 219.99||SAR 229.99|
|Amazon Echo Show 8||AED 549.99||AED 399.99||SAR 429.99|
|Amazon Echo Show 10||AED 1099.99||AED 999.99||SAR 1099.99|
Regional apps and skills
Amazon has partnered up with a bunch of companies from the region to launch their apps or skills on Amazon Echo. With music, Amazon has worked with Anghami to bring its catalogue to Echo devices.
Elie Habib, co-founder of Anghami mentioned that while there is tons of expected content such as Arabic songs and podcasts that are available on Echo, he also mentioned the availability of Quran on it.
Other than Anghami, you will find skills for Expo 2020, Careem, Fatafeat and Reel Cinemas.