Amazon has today sent out a series of emails to developers announcing that as of today residents in India can "request an invitation" to purchase one of three Amazon Echo devices.
Amazon is happy to announce that Alexa, the brain that powers Amazon Echo, is coming to India, along with three Alexa-enabled devices: Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. Customers who want to help further the development of Alexa and the Echo family of devices may request an invitation to purchase devices beginning today. This opens up new opportunities for developers in India and worldwide. You can now create Alexa skills for customers in India with the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).
The devices being made available are:
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo Plus
Further information has been sent in a later email detailing how Amazon is to automatically update skills and make them available in the India region.
To enable you to reach more customers, we plan to migrate your existing US/UK skill(s) to India. To do this, we will create an English (IN) variant of your existing English (US/UK) skill by copying over all skill details, endpoint information, publishing information, and intent schema. This will make the skill available to customers in the US, UK, and India in English (US), English (UK) and English (IN). You will not receive certification feedback for your skill as part of the migration.
Of course, you may wonder how this is possible. Rather than making the primary language of Hindu the language of choice in India, Amazon has made available English (India). This will work in a similar fashion to the differing variants available in the US and UK. This is an interesting but logical move on Amazon's part. Hindu is by far the language that most people speak (source). The population currently sits at around 1.3 Billion, English being the Primary, secondary or third of around 125 Million, therefore, this has opened a market of around 10% of the Indian population. Of course, this is still a very large market and opens new possibilities for developers.
For any skills that are currently in development or are not automatically transitioned over to include English (India), The Amazon developer blog has made a great article on How To Update Your Skill.