Amazon Alexa payment plan coming soon, but is it worth it?

Amazon’s paid version of Alexa could be coming sooner than you think…

Alexa for Amazon Prime Day
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon is reportedly looking to start offering its voice assistant, Alexa, as a paid subscription. Rumours regarding Amazon charging a monthly subscription fee for Alexa started last year, and now it looks like there’s a planned release date in the works… but there’s a catch.

Since its inception, Alexa has been available on the best smart speakers, displays and other smart devices for free. As Amazon has been working on making Alexa more intelligent and chatty with the use of generative AI, the company has found that these developments are expensive to develop and maintain, which has brought on plans to turn Alexa into a paid service.

The new subscription-based Alexa is currently being called ‘Alexa Plus’ and could be set to debut on 30th June 2024. Alexa Plus is being adapted with more AI capabilities than the free version of Alexa, and it’s currently being tested on thousands of customers with the base technology, ‘Remarkable Alexa’.

While we don’t know a huge amount about the new Alexa service, other than it’ll have added AI technology, one thing we do know is that the testing process isn’t going swimmingly so far. The Alexa Plus voice technology is being tested by around 15,000 external customers and the results haven’t been favourable, with many users and Alexa employees saying that Alexa’s answers aren’t living up to expectations.

As Amazon is putting its main focus into making Alexa more intelligent and conversational than before, it’s not great news to hear that it’s not performing in the way developers expected. According to 9to5Google, Alexa Plus takes an extremely long time to answer questions, and oftentimes, the responses are inaccurate or incorrect.

Someone using an Echo Show for recipes

(Image credit: Amazon)

In addition to these AI ‘hallucinations’ as they’re being dubbed, the Alexa Plus service seems to have difficulties with operating multiple services at once. For example, Alexa Plus has been finding requests that interact with multiple backend services, like playing music while turning on your smart lights, a bit of a struggle, something that the standard Alexa service hasn’t had much trouble with in the past.

As Amazon has plans to launch the Alexa Plus paid service in June 2024, employees have reportedly been asking for the date to be pushed back because of these problems. This may be due to the worry that the voice assistant and AI technological difficulties won’t be sorted in time and whether customers will want to pay for an Alexa service after finding out about the issues.

After hearing about the expense of adapting Alexa with AI, it’s understandable that Amazon is looking to charge a fee to improve the quality of its popular smart home  and voice assistant. But with the current landscape, it could be worth postponing the launch date to solve the issues with the paid-for platform and to get customers interested in paying for the service once it launches.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!