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AI-powered Alexa could nearly double your Amazon subscription costs

'Remarkable Alexa' will learn your routines, write emails, order food, and more, but it may require you to buy a new device.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Echo Show 8

Alexa Emergency Assist will be supported on every Echo device, from the oldest Echo speaker to the newest Echo Show 8 (pictured).

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Amazon Echo devices are potentially getting an AI-powered upgrade, but it won't come free.

According to a report from Reuters, which got its information from several anonymous Amazon employees, the company is working on a superior version of Alexa known as "Remarkable Alexa" that could replace the existing version. This new version will have two tiers -- a free option that does what the devices do now -- only a little bit better, and another option that injects even more generative AI.

Also: Amazon Prime Day 2024 is back this July: Everything you need to know (plus some shoppable deals)

The generative AI version will reportedly cost between $5 and $10 per month, and Amazon will not include it with a Prime subscription.

What does generative AI Alexa look like? "Near-human-like conversations" to start, plus the ability to draft and send emails and take Uber Eats orders. Upgraded Alexa might also be able to handle multiple queries in succession, meaning you won't have to repeatedly say "Alexa" during a conversation.

Reuters also explained that Remarkable Alexa would be able to learn from your actions. With the existing Alexa, you can set routines for connected smart devices, so things like a coffee pot (or a luxury ice maker) whir to life on a set schedule. New Alexa, however, might learn that you turn on your ice maker each morning at the same time or fire up your TV to watch the same show at the same time, and handle those tasks for you.

Also: 5 ways Amazon can make an AI-powered Alexa subscription worth the cost

While $10 per month isn't much, whether customers will be willing to pay for the added features is an open question. An Amazon Prime subscription is $14.99 per month, or $139 for a year. Is an upgraded Alexa worth an additional $120 per year? The interviewed employees also warned that users might have to purchase additional Alexa devices to fully take advantage of Remarkable Alexa.

Amazon reportedly gave employees a 2024 deadline to have Remarkable Alexa ready, so we likely won't have to wait too much longer to find out.

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