Amazon reportedly thinks people will pay up to $10 per month for next-gen Alexa

Good luck with that.

REUTERS / Reuters

We've known for a while that Amazon is planning to soup up Alexa with generative AI features. While the company says it has been integrating that into various aspects of the voice assistant, it's also working on a more advanced version of Alexa that it plans to charge users to access. Amazon has reportedly dubbed the higher tier "Remarkable Alexa" (let's hope it doesn't stick with that name for the public rollout).

According to Reuters, Amazon is still determining pricing and a release date for Remarkable Alexa, but it has mooted a fee of between roughly $5 and $10 per month for consumers to use it. Amazon is also said to have been urging its workers to have Remarkable Alexa ready by August — perhaps so it's able to discuss the details as its usual fall Alexa and devices event.

This will mark the first major revamp of Alexa since Amazon debuted the voice assistant alongside Echo speakers a decade ago. The company is now in a position where it's trying to catch up with the likes of ChatGPT and Google Gemini. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who pledged that the company was working on a “more intelligent and capable Alexa" in an April letter to shareholders, has reportedly taken a personal interest in the overhaul. Jassy noted last August that every Amazon division had generative AI projects in the pipeline.

"We have already integrated generative AI into different components of Alexa, and are working hard on implementation at scale — in the over half a billion ambient, Alexa-enabled devices already in homes around the world — to enable even more proactive, personal, and trusted assistance for our customers," said an Amazon spokeswoman told Reuters. However, the company has yet to deploy the more natural-sounding and conversational version of Alexa it showed off last September.

Remarkable Alexa is said to be capable of complex prompts, such as being able to compose and send an email, and order dinner all from a single command. Deeper personalization is another aspect, while Amazon reportedly expects that consumers will use it for shopping advice, as with its Rufus assistant.

Upgraded home automation capability is said to be a priority too. According to the report, Remarkable Alexa may be able to gain a deeper understanding of user preferences, so it might learn to turn on the TV to a specific show. It may also learn to turn on the coffee machine when your alarm clock goes off (though it's already very easy to set this up through existing smart home systems).

Alexa has long been an unprofitable endeavor for Amazon — late last year, it laid off several hundred people who were working on the voice assistant. It's not a huge surprise that the company would try to generate more revenue from Remarkable Alexa (which, it's claimed, won't be offered as a Prime benefit). Users might need to buy new devices with more powerful tech inside so that Remarkable Alexa can run on them properly.

In any case, $10 (or even $5) per month for an upgraded voice assistant seems like a hard sell, especially when the current free version of Alexa can already handle a wide array of tasks.