[Update May 10]: Amazon has also said that the beta program will be used to help Alexa to learn Arabic, indicating that Amazon UAE customers will be able to communicate and get replies from the smart speaker in whatever language they're most comfortable in.
Original story follows:
If you've been longing after an Amazon Echo device for a while and have refrained from snatching one up due to the lack of support in the UAE, then things are about to get better for you.
This week Amazon has sent out emails to a select number of UAE customers to trial certain features of Amazon Alexa and provide feedback.
The email reads as follows:
Amazon invites you to play an exclusive role in shaping the future of Alexa!
We are looking for people that would be interested in exploring a range of Alexa features and provide us feedback. We will use your inputs and interactions with Alexa to help improve the experience we offer customers in the United Arab Emirates.
The email then leads to a signup page, with a photo of an Amazon Echo as the background.
At the moment, support for Alexa-enabled devices (both from Amazon and third party) isn't available in the UAE, with customers having to use Amazon accounts for other regions instead, such as the UK or USA. This also limits the kind of skills that are available for each Echo device.
It's not clear if this testing phase is merely to gauge interest for Alexa support, or if it's to prepare for an official launch in the future. Amazon hasn't provided any further information on a proposed launch date for its smart home devices, so we'll have to stay tuned to see if any further announcements come through.