Samuel L. Jackson and other celebrities will lend their voices to Amazon’s Alexa devices in a new feature that will be available as a 99-cent upgrade, the tech giant announced at a major product reveal in Seattle.
Other celebrities’ voices will be added next year. The company has recently amped up its affiliations with A-listers in its marketing efforts for Alexa, including Super Bowl ads featuring the likes of Harrison Ford, Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins.
Jackson “can tell you jokes, let you know if it’s raining, set timers and alarms, play music and more – all with a bit of his own personality,” according to the company’s official blog post. The company plans two versions of his voice — “explicit and non-explicit.”
As voice competition ramps up among Amazon, Google and Apple, the push for Alexa dominated the Amazon event. The company also announced updates to its Echo Show video-enabled devices, as well as a $59 version of the Echo Dot featuring a clock and designed for bedstands. Amazon also took the wraps off new Echo units such as Studio, Glow, Flex and Bose-powered wireless earbuds called (what else?) Echo Buds. The $200 Studio is the first high-end Echo model, featuring Dolby Atmos.
There are now 100 million devices equipped with Echo speakers, which Amazon first rolled out five years ago.
Amazon at the event also plugged its collaboration with Discovery on the forthcoming subscription streaming outlet Food Network Kitchen. The $7-a-month service will debut in late October and will supplement live and on-demand video programming with ingredient and equipment delivery through Amazon and playlists optimized for Alexa.
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