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‘It’s all out of hand’ Alexa owners cry as Amazon plots ANOTHER subscription fee for new AI features

AMAZON is reportedly plotting to jump on the AI bandwagon with a huge upgrade to Alexa – but you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

ChatGPT’s sudden ascent has spurred a massive explosion in AI developments from the likes of Google and Microsoft.


RXHH2D A close-up shot of the Amazon Alexa app icon, as seen on the screen of a smart phone (Editorial use only)Credit: Alamy

Alexa shocked the world ten years ago when it was revealed alongside the Amazon Echo speakers.

But tasks like setting timers or asking for weather now feel basic as AI becomes widely available.

Now Amazon is hoping to bring Alexa up to speed with a massive AI injection of its own.

However, users may have to pay to use it.

The online shopping giant plans to charge a monthly fee for the AI extras, according to CNBC.

And apparently it won’t be included as part of a Prime subscription either.

In April, Amazon boss Andy Jassy revealed that the company was working on an “even more intelligent and capable Alexa”.

“We’re building a substantial number of GenAI applications across every Amazon consumer business,” he said.

The issue of charging for AI upgrades is a matter tech companies are currently unsure about.

AI tools not only cost money to develop but they require a lot of energy-hungry data centres to run.

ChatGPT gets even smarter after OpenAI reveals new ‘brain’ for free called GPT-4o – it can ‘see’ photos and talk to you

“Stop with the subscriptions, just stop it’s getting untenable,” one user wrote on X over the Alexa reports.

“Investors love subscription models as do companies like Apple because Wall Street likes nice predictable revenue streams but I think it’s all out of hand,” another wrote.

Why Alexa needs to get its ai-ct together

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Analysis by Jamie Harris, Senior Technology and Science Reporter

Alexa is easily the most popular voice assistant around – but nothing lasts forever in the tech world if you stand still.

OpenAI’s new ChatGPT-4o has raised some eyebrows with its impressive voice assistant capabilities.

It sounded fluid, natural and capable of more than just telling pre-programmed jokes.

Despite being a new player, everyone is racing to catch up with OpenAI.

Fortunately for Amazon, it has scale in the form of the millions of gadgets that rely on Alexa.

But as those gadgets age and people eventually look to upgrade, the company needs to keep Alexa fresh.

Whether people are willing to pay for those extras – on top of their Prime subscription – is a key matter. And I suspect most won’t…

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