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AI ‘Alexa Plus’ subscription won’t be a Prime freebie – report

New reports have added weight to speculation Amazon’s AI revamp of Alexa will be accompanied by a subscription fee.

According to a new CNBC report, if you want Alexa to hold the same sort of two-way conversations as you can achieve in the latest version OpenAI’s GPT, you’re going to have to cough-up a few quid each month.

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Citing “people with knowledge of Amazon’s plans”, the report says the new Alexa capacities will not be a perk for Prime members either. The report also says Amazon hasn’t decided how much it will cost yet.

As the report points out, Alexa hasn’t moved on that much since its inception in 2014 as part of the first Echo speaker. It’s amazing at being able to summon content, control smart home devices, set timers and answer questions and it has got better at handling follow-up questions in context during that time.

However, it does feel a little bit old hat compared to some of the recent advancements from OpenAI’s GPT-4o and Google Gemini.

In a letter to shareholders, CEO Andy Jassy recently said: “We’re building a substantial number of GenAI applications across every Amazon consumer business” which will lead to an “even more intelligent and capable Alexa.” The company wouldn’t be drawn further on the plans when approached by the media for comment today.

Apple is also currently facing the same problem and we’re expecting to see how the company is attempting to address the shortcomings of Siri with AI (perhaps with Google’s help) at WWDC 2024 in June.

We first heard of Amazon’s reported plans back in January this year, when a Business Insider piece tipped a June 30 release for an Alexa Plus service.

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