Amazon is ending celebrity voices for Alexa that delivered weather, jokes and more – GeekWire

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Kurt Schlosser
2023-05-30 12:13:33

Celebrity voices for Amazon’s Alexa included, from left, Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal and Melissa McCarthy. (Amazon Images)

Amazon is muting the celebrity voices for Alexa that have been used to report the weather, tell jokes and more.

The voices for actors Samuel L. Jackson and Melissa McCarthy, and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal are being discontinued according to notes on the Amazon pages for each.

“Samuel L. Jackson celebrity personality for Alexa is no longer available for purchase,” reads the notice about the “Pulp Fiction” actor. “Customers who previously purchased the experience may continue to use the skill until April 30, 2023 by saying ‘Hey Samuel.’ Please reach out to customer service if you have any questions about this update.”

Jackson’s voice first launched in December 2019 at a limited-time introductory price of 99 cents. The price eventually jumped to $4.99.

Using Amazon’s Neural Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology, the Hollywood star was also available with an explicit version which added some F-bombs to jokes, movie trivia and more. The voices did not work with shopping lists, reminders or skills.

The Verge reported Tuesday that Jackson’s voice has already stopped working on some customers’ Alexa-enabled smart speakers.

The McCarthy and O’Neal voices launched in 2021, and their pages say that those voices will work until Sept. 30.

GeekWire reached out to Amazon for more on why the voices are being discontinued and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

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