Amazon has been on quite an expansion push with its smart home speaker line recently, but now it's clear that they're increasing more than just the number of Echo devices on the market. The company announced today that Echo and Alexa are now available in India by invitation only, and they'll expand to Japan later this year. Devices will start shipping in India this month.
According to Tom Taylor, the SVP of Amazon Alexa, the company will also open the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service in order to allow developers to create customized software for Indian and Japanese customers. Hardware makers will also have the freedom to build devices that can work with Alexa.
This expansion marks the first foray into Asia for the Echo, a necessary step for Amazon to compete in the smart home speaker market. Apple and Google have an advantage over Amazon in this regard simply because they already have a large presence in Asia. It's a smart move for the online retail giant; they'll probably expand to more countries in the region next year.