While logging into the Amazon Developer Portal yesterday I noticed that there was a notice that the terms and conditions had been updated to take into consideration the release of Amazon Voice Services (AVS) in the UK and Germany (looks like the T&C's were actually updated on the 30th Jan). To be honest I was quite surprised as I had not seen any news to suggest that the service had been released in the UK. Looks like I was not going crazy. Amazon has today officially announced the release of AVS in the UK and Germany.
Although I am based in the UK what interests me most about this is the release in Germany. The reason for this? Well residents of the UK, of course, speak English the same as the US (albeit with some nuances) but Germany of course mainly speak German. The Echo, of course, is already released in Germany, therefore, AVS already understands a fair amount of German. The fact that AVS now supports it, however, will put a lot more focus on another language and really help 3rd parties release devices integrating Alexa.
Moving forward I fully expect Amazon to start supporting further languages. I have not heard anything official but some good choices would be French, Spanish and Portuguese. These 3 languages would open up the device to a fantastic amount of markets. Obviously, these include Spain, Portugal and France but it would also open up:
There are of course many others as well.
As an Amazon Alexa Skills developer this does directly affect us for now but the more companies that adopt AVS the better the service will become which in turn will trickle down to ourselves.
For further information check out the following resources: