- Amazon Echo users will be able to replace Alexa's voice for that of actor Samuel L. Jackson.
- The update will cost 99 cents, but will eventually rise to $4.99.
- Amazon also recently introduced several new Echo-compatible products, including a smart ring, smart glasses and new earbuds.
Amazon Echo owners will soon get the chance to swap out Alexa’s voice for Samuel L. Jackson’s, Amazon announced last week. By asking an Echo device to “introduce me to Samuel L Jackson,” users will be able to buy the add-on for 99 cents, and eventually $4.99.
“Just ask and Sam will give you the weather, play your favourite music, tell jokes, and more,” Amazon wrote on its website. “Samuel L Jackson can help you set a timer, serenade you with a song, tell you a funny joke, and more…Get to know him a little better by asking about his interests and career.”
Amazon seemed to realize that its new feature would hardly be authentic if the “Pulp Fiction” star weren’t allowed to curse you out, so it plans to offer users the option to enable or disable profanity. The new feature also uses Amazon’s neural text-to-speech technology to produce phrases without relying entirely on prior recordings. Amazon said it plans add other celebrity voices to the Echo platform next year.
But Sam will only be able to help Echo users with certains tasks, not including “Shopping, lists, reminders or Skills,” Amazon said.
It’s worth noting that the idea to use Jackson’s voice on the Echo probably didn’t come from Amazon executives: A 2014 YouTube video parodied an Amazon Echo commercial by inserting Jackson’s voice wherever the original ad played Alexa’s.
Amazon announced last week several new Echo-compatible products, including Echo Buds (earbuds), Echo Frames (smart glasses) and the Echo Loop (smart ring). These additions come amid long-standing privacy concerns over the extent to which microphone-equipped devices like Echo and Google Home are listening and perhaps recording what users say. Amazon also said it was rolling out options to let Echo users ask Alexa what she just heard, command Alexa to delete the recording, and other privacy options.