Would you like to speak to Alexa, but you don’t have an Amazon Echo? Answers here

So Amazon Echo was launched in December 2015 and since then, 3 million devices have been sold… in the United States. It’s usual for Amazon not to announce their product roadmaps or launch plans, so we have simply no idea when (more than if) it will be launched in other English-speaking countries, or when Alexa will speak Spanish or Tagalog with us… Therefore, if you’re curious about Alexa Voice Services but you’re not based in the US, you’ll have to take some workarounds to play around with the technology.


There are two ways of speaking with Alexa via your Smartphone:

  • Lexi. A $4.99 app for iOS.
    Lexi logo
    Lexi logo
  • Roger Voice Messenger. By the people that previously built Spotify. You can add Alexa to its options. Also you can exchange opinions with Chewbacca. Free for Android and iOS.
    Roger logo
    Roger logo


  • Echosim.io: a JavaScript Echo simulator that works really well. It was launched a couple of weeks ago.
  • The test tool on Amazon’s developer console: I’ll devote a full post for that, but it’s quite masochistic, unless you prefer JSON to speech.

DIY Hardware

Build yourself an Echo device with a Raspberry Pi. Here’s how they explain it from Amazon, here’s how they explain it from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. A colleague of mine tells me it’s totally doable. What you’ll need:

  • A Raspberry Pi 2 (model B) & typical complements (power cord, SD card, keyboard, mouse, USB Wi-Fi adaptor).
  • A USB 2.0 mini microphone.
  • A loudspeaker that works with a 3.5 mm jack (the usual one).
    Homebrew Amazon Echo with Raspberry Pi

    Black Market 

  • eBay. Not exactly the black market. There’s lots of Amazon Echos for sale out there. Good luck with Customs if you go down this route.

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