What you need to know
- The upgraded version of Alexa, internally known as "Remarkable Alexa," relies on a new large language model for improved personalization but faces challenges in meeting expectations during testing.
- Amazon plans to launch Alexa Plus on June 30, despite reported internal conflicts over revamping Alexa's technology stack.
- Some employees are questioning the idea of charging for Alexa Plus, wondering if customers will be willing to pay for an upgraded version when already subscribing to other Amazon services.
The upgraded version, dubbed "Alexa Plus," will reportedly bring the smarts with generative AI for beefed-up answers. But Amazon might slap a monthly fee on it to tackle the hefty bill of running generative AI. The price is still a mystery.
At Amazon's hardware event last September, Dave Limp, Amazon's then head of hardware before joining Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin as CEO, teased the company's plans for Alexa and generative AI. He also dropped a hint that it might cost you a few bucks.
After that, rumor had it that more than 15,000 users were putting the service through its paces under the internal name "Remarkable Alexa." While there's not much information, it looks like Amazon might roll it out on June 30, as per Business Insider's sources.
Alexa Plus doesn't appear to be bringing a whole new bag of tricks to your smart home. Instead, it appears to be geared toward smoothing things out and making device control a breeze. Back in September, Amazon previewed a few things you can do with the upgraded Alexa like throwing multiple commands in one sentence and setting up Routines just by talking.
While the new Alexa AI is supposed to launch later in the first half of this year, the test run didn't go as planned, per the report. Sure, it got more conversational and personalized, but it also had the tendency to give inaccurate answers.
To fix those issues, Amazon is supposedly giving Alexa a makeover, but it's causing some rift between the original Alexa team and the new group building a paid version.
According to the sources, rumor has it that some Amazon employees are scratching their heads over charging for Alexa. Apparently, they're questioning if people would cough up cash for a fancy Alexa upgrade on top of what they're already shelling out for other Amazon subscriptions.
With all the hiccups Amazon is facing right now, there's a chance that Alexa Plus might face some delays. Nonetheless, it looks like Amazon might finally cash in on its digital assistant eventually, even though Alexa's been bleeding money forever.
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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.
Another reason for me to not use Alexa.Reply
Yeah, add me to that list of people who won't be paying another dime to Amazon for any 'add ons'. I already pay for Prime, I pay an extra to Music Unlimited so my father in law can listen when he wants to, now they want me to pay for commercial free movies, and Alexa that uses AI when I don't care that it does, I just want it to turn my lights on and off when I tell it to and wake me with my radio station in the morning. Pretty soon, Amazon is gonna figure out how to wipe people's rear and start trying to charge for that! Nope, not gonna happen. The day they tell me I have to pay for Alexa, I'm done.Reply
They do sell bidets...Tigrisan said:Yeah, add me to that list of people who won't be paying another dime to Amazon for any 'add ons'. I already pay for Prime, I pay an extra to Music Unlimited so my father in law can listen when he wants to, now they want me to pay for commercial free movies, and Alexa that uses AI when I don't care that it does, I just want it to turn my lights on and off when I tell it to and wake me with my radio station in the morning. Pretty soon, Amazon is gonna figure out how to wipe people's rear and start trying to charge for that! Nope, not gonna happen. The day they tell me I have to pay for Alexa, I'm done.
This whole AI fiasco is going NOWHERE with me! I never used any of this assistant stuff up until today and now I have even more reason to stay away! Don't need it, never did, never will!Reply
I have been using alexa since 2015 for just about everything I can. It is a great addition, but ain't no way I am paying any subscription for Amazons version of chatgpt. I did not get alexa to ask it questions, to be a companion but to run a smart home.Reply
I think chatgpt, bard or whatever is just a passing fad. People will use it for a bit then get tired of it. IMO, the subscription plan will be a failure.
We have a Dot and the bigger Echo. It was fun for a few weeks, but that was 2 years ago. The Echo is unplugged. The Dot is sitting on my wife's desk and she uses it occasionally to play the news or re-order something on Amazon.Reply
We both have Fire tablets with Alexa on it, but never use it there.
My youngest son used Alexa for a while on our Fire TV stick to make up joke lists with silly words just to hear how Alexa said them. That entertained him for about a half-hour every few days for a couple of months. He even played with that again one day a few months ago.
All the things it's supposed to help us do, I guess we found... we just don't need or do.
Here is our use for Alexa:Reply
Alexa turns on the lights in the basement. The basement does not a wall switches, pull cords only. We plugged in a smart wall plug Alexa can connect to, she now turns on and off the basement lights. Prior to the smart plugs we would walk down the stairs get to the bottom where it is dark, then flail our arms about attempting to find the pull cord.
Alexa can open and close the garage door from anywhere.
During the Christmas holidays we used smart wall plugs in the front and in the back. We used Alexa to turn those on and off. Saved us from going outside in the cold, ice, sleet and rain, just to plug or unplug them.
Use Alexa quite a lot for timers. Of course, we can use our phone timers, however it is easier using Alexa.Before you roll your eyes about our uses for Alexa, this year we are 80, stairs and stuff for the wife is becoming more of a challenge. However, if Amazon demands payment for Alexa use, Alexa will be El-Gone-O, we already pay for Prime.