Amazon Alexa might be getting a huge AI upgrade, but it'll cost you extra

Amazon Alexa on Pixel 6 Pro with Echo speakers
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Amazon is said to be upgrading Alexa with generative AI features, but it will require a new monthly subscription.
  • The enhanced Alexa aims to offer more conversational and context-aware interactions.
  • While pricing isn't finalized, there’s discussion around a potential $20 monthly fee for the AI features, separate from the $139 annual Prime subscription.

Amazon is reportedly stepping up to compete with OpenAI and Google by boosting Alexa with generative AI features, but it’ll cost a monthly subscription fee to access.

According to CNBC, Amazon is set to launch a new generative AI-powered Alexa this year that will require its own monthly subscription, separate from Amazon Prime. This move presumably aims to put Amazon in the ring with big players like OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 Omni and Google’s Gemini 1.5.

Alexa has been a handy tool for answering questions, setting reminders, and managing smart home devices for a long time. However, it's starting to show its age, especially compared to the latest breakthroughs in AI technology.

Ever since ChatGPT made its debut in late 2022, tech giants like Microsoft and Google have been hustling to upgrade their virtual assistants with generative AI. This new technology allows for more contextual interactions and smoother conversations. Google has even rolled out its new Gemini AI assistant, which users can swap for the regular Google Assistant.

CNBC reports that the upcoming Alexa update will make it more conversational, incorporating cutting-edge generative AI. While Amazon hasn't set a price yet, it looks like this enhanced Alexa will require a separate monthly subscription beyond the annual $139 Amazon Prime fee. An insider mentioned that each generative AI query could cost around 2 cents, and there's talk of a possible $20 monthly subscription that's been discussed internally.

OpenAI and Google both offer their premium AI subscriptions for $20 a month. However, Google’s package includes extra perks like additional storage that can be used across its various products.

This isn't the first hint that Amazon is planning to charge for an AI-enhanced Alexa. Last year, Amazon’s then-senior vice president of devices and services, David Limp, mentioned to The Verge that the retail giant would likely charge for a supercharged AI version of Alexa.

In his recent letter to shareholders, CEO Andy Jassy also mentioned that an AI upgrade is on the horizon for Alexa.

The latest report aligns with what Business Insider revealed earlier this year about Amazon's plans for Alexa. The earlier report set a launch date of June 30 and dubbed the technology "Remarkable Alexa." If these details hold, Amazon's AI-powered Alexa announcement could coincide with Apple's expected reveal of an AI-enabled Siri in the same month.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • cknobman
    There is a sucker/rube born every second these days.

    Wonder how many will jump on this.

    I'll pay you $20 extra a month to manipulate, spy, and infringe my rights 24/7/365!
  • me just saying
    as long as the basic features continue to be free, I am good. I just hope amazon does not pull what they did with the alexa guard feature. First there was guard, then there was paid verson-guard plus, then after a couple of years, they moved the best features from guard to guard plus.