Amazon’s cloud-based voice service Alexa and the Echo family of devices are landing in Saudi Arabia. Alexa will be available in an all-new, localised language experience in an Arabic Khaleeji dialect. The localised experience includes a personality that will surprise and delight customers, local pronunciations and intonation and local knowledge. Additionally, it offers unique new features built with Saudi customers in mind, new smart home integrations with compatible devices, and nearly 200 Alexa skills with favourites from Saudi developers and regional brands, including Anghami, AlArabiya, MBC, Careem, Fatafeat, Al Baik, Sabq. and more.
As well as asking, “Alexa, play surat Al Kahaf,” customers can set prayer times, and in the near future, even be reminded to get the aydiya before the last ten days of Ramdan. Music lovers get to benefit from premium services that provide a catalogue of Arabic and international songs, including Anghami and Spotify, as well as listen to favourite radio stations like MBC and Panorama. Meanwhile, the curious can get customised news updates from outlets of their choice, whether Al Arabiya, CNBC Arabia, Arriyadiah or more. They can also build up a wealth of knowledge with questions like, “Alexa, when was King Fahad causway built?” In addition, sports enthusiasts can ask Alexa how Al-Hilal scored or when the national team is playing next. Working with compatible smart home devices from brands including Philips Hue, Xiaomi and TP Link, users can also control lights and air conditioning. They can also enjoy hands-free home security with Ring, whose cameras and video doorbells are all compatible with Alexa. Plus, there are so many other pluses like Rideshare services through the Careem skill, recipes and cook along instructions through the Fatafeat skill, order tracking through AlBaik or Domino’s and audiobook services through Storytel.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring Alexa and the Echo family of devices to Saudi Arabia,” Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President of Amazon Alexa, said. “The team has worked hard to create an all-new experience designed from the ground up for our customers in Saudi Arabia, reflecting the Kingdom’s rich heritage, traditions and culture while celebrating the uniqueness of the Arabic language.”
Nawaf Alhoshan, Saudi’s Deputy Minister for Technology Development at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said the infrastructure the Kingdom is building will help make the country a leading digital nation. He also said Saudi will be among top 20 digital economies and a centre for technology investments in the region. Alhoshan added Alexa will influence their goals and “help drive the adoption of IoT and artificial intelligence in Saudi Arabia.”
Alexa is the brain that powers the always ready, hands-free, and fast Echo devices, which are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around one’s voice. Alexa runs in the cloud, receives new feature updates on an ongoing basis, and is therefore always getting smarter.
Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock, Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10 are available on Amazon.sa. To celebrate Alexa’s arrival in the region and as an introductory offer, any Echo device is available at a reduced price for a limited period of time.