Amazon Echo may land in India this year with regional language support

Amazon is investing over $5 billion in its Indian unit to turn the website into the largest e-commerce portal in the subcontinent. The retailer rolled out its Prime subscription service in the country last year, and introduced Prime Video a few months ago. Now it looks like Amazon may bring its Echo lineup to India by the end of the year.

That's according to two anonymous sources speaking to Economic Times. This isn't the first time we're hearing about the Amazon Echo landing in India, but ET's report also states that Alexa — Amazon's voice-based assistant — will include support for regional languages: Marathi, Tamil and Hindi.

Amazon is said to initially offer Alexa in English, with support for local languages coming shortly thereafter. Alexa has turned into a robust platform over the last two years, with the assistant touting over 1,200 skills — everything from hailing a cab, ordering items on Amazon, sending a text with your voice, and more.

There are a few India-specific hurdles when it comes to using Alexa for purchasing items on Amazon India — all online transactions in the country require two-factor authentication — but it looks like Amazon is exploring workarounds:

We will work around these barriers using passphrases and other India-specific innovations.

As for pricing, Amazon is likely to offer lucrative discounts initially to incentivize customers to pick up the Echo:

We expect Amazon to launch (Alexa and Echo) in the Indian market with very attractive pricing offers in the beginning, a similar strategy used with Amazon Prime Video and something that worked well. These offerings are likely to be linked with existing users of Amazon's services in India, making it more appealing for them.

As a Google Home user, I'm excited to see what Echo brings to the table. Google Assistant is great at understanding queries, but Alexa is compatible with a broader range of services.

Would you be interested in buying the Amazon Echo once it launches in India? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.