Amazon is reportedly winding down celebrity voices on Echo devices

Samuel L Jackson as Alexa
(Image credit: Amazon)

What you need to know

  • Amazon is reportedly discounting celebrity voices on Echo devices.
  • Samuel L. Jackson's voice from Alexa-powered devices is the first one to bid adieu.
  • By September, Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O'Neal will be discontinued as well.

Amazon Alexa-powered Echo devices are popular household gadgets across the world. The other well-liked feature is its incorporation of celebrity voices, which became widely popular with the inclusion of Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson's voice response that was added in 2019.

According to The Verge, Amazon is reportedly suspending the feature, including Jackson's voice next to other celebrity voices like Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O'Neal.

Amazon spokesperson Eric Sveum reportedly told The Verge in a statement implying, "After three years, we're winding down celebrity voices."

"Customers will be able to continue using these voices for a limited time, and can contact our customer service team for a refund," Sveum added.

Similar statements were also given to Variety, indicating the suspension of the feature is imminent.

In addition, the celebrity personality pages of the celebrities mentioned above on Amazon also imply the same. Jackson's page, however, suggested his voice personality wouldn't be available from April 30. But, the feature still appears to be working and will continue until June 7, 2023, according to Sveum's statement from The Verge.

On the other hand, Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O'Neal's celebrity pages suggest that their celebrity personality voices on Echo devices would be suspended by September 30, 2023.

Amazon Alexa device owners purchased these celebrity voices separately for $4.99 (although the launch price was $0.99). To trigger the celebrity voice response, users would say "Hey, CELEBRITY NAME" to listen to Alexa responses in either of the celebrity voices as aforementioned.

The tasks further included responses to questions posed to Alexa alongside hearing jokes and listening to stories (sometimes roasts) in either Jackson's, McCarthy's, or O'Neal's voices. If you're wondering about the feature's functionality on Echo devices, here's our quick how-to on it.

The cause of the suspension has not yet been determined. This decision by Amazon is probably the result of cost-cutting initiatives that initially surfaced in November, reported by The Wall Street Journal. It further implied the Alexa business had an operational deficit of more than $5 billion annually.

It is still sad to see Amazon Alexa losing the fun and popular aspect of the smart speaker, which has been unique to Echo devices.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.