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Alexa in Canada

  • 6 October 2017
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I have been stomped for days pondering about why Amazon has not release Alexa yet in Canada. I really hope it is not because of new privacy legislations that has been brought up. I probably am on the wrong forum about this and find an Amazon dedicated forum. But does anyone know why or if Alexa is launching soon in Canada?
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Best answer by Giller 1 March 2018, 01:07

Alexa is now up and running in Canada.
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I've heard nothing official, but the rumor mill has been claiming by the end of this year. Those claims have been bolstered by Amazon Canada hiring a number of Alexa developers.

I think people underestimate what a serious undertaking it is to launch these digital assistants in different locales and languages. We're talking about tech powerhouses with Amazon and Google scrambling to deploy to new locations. For your consideration - it's expected that Amazon will spend well over half a billion dollars on Alexa R&D this year. That's incredible, and it shows how valuable they believe this space to be.
The India experience may be relevant. In addition to release of the hardware, there also needs to be an accompanying Alexa app release by Amazon. Once that is done, that has to contain Sonos Skills in it.

In India, 15 days since the release there is no knowing when the latter will happen, except the soon, hopefully, kind of words.

Prime Music is also working in India but only for device owners. Amazon has confirmed that the formal release is this month, when it will be possible to make custom playlists as well. And it will have to be visible as a music service in the Sonos controller such that it can be added there. Hopefully, that is not going to be another wait for Sonos to catch up after big brother Amazon has done its bit.
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Hey everyone, as you've seen, Alexa just entered Canada. We're working with them right now to bring Alexa support to new areas. When Alexa starts working somewhere new, it takes some dedicated engineering work and testing to bring support to Sonos, but we are committed to bringing Alexa voice control to Sonos in Canada in early 2018.
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I understand Alexa in Canada will speak with a Canadian accent, eh! So we’ll have: “Play Neil Young in the living room, eh!” It will also respond to the popular Canadian phrase, “Sorry.”
Yes, it will, eventually. With any unit/speaker made since Sonos began. But not before early 2018 is what is the present Sonos statement on the when.
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Just follow the instructions I and others have posted in this community. The key is to set it up with an Android phone and a sideloaded Alexa apk (if you’d not have access to the US Google or Amazon app stores) to get the Alexa version from the US with Sonos skills. There is nothing wrong, or illegal, about using apks. They simply provide another way to load legit apps on your Android system.
Since it can be loaded only after turning off the security feature on the phone and reading the consequent warning of dire consequences, it can't be as simple as the last part - how to know if the side load is legit?
And now, since I have the hardware, this becomes more of interest so please bear with me if these questions are a repeat. What I have just now have are two Echo devices, set up and working fine with the Alexa India app. Except for they not being able to control Sonos, the app does not have the Sonos Skills. So, the questions:
1. What is a reliable site for the sideload and can it be accessed and the download done from there directly via Android?
2. I presume the Echo in question will have to be factory reset first.
3. Going on, I guess the newly downloaded app will have to be opened and Echo set up via it. I have a working Amazon US account I use for purchases so that is all that is needed in addition?
4. Once that is done, Sonos Skills will be present in the downloaded app? If yes, the Sonos process steps for setting up both Echo and Sonos for Alexa are to be completed with no change needed to these?
5. Once this is done, that Echo device reset up in the home will control Sonos? With obviously no local content for Echo. With a imaginary US address?
6. Coming to Amazon Prime, my Indian subscribed service will not be available, so there will have to be a workaround for that as well?
7. Once Sonos finally catches up with Amazon and releases the necessary skills in the local Alexa app, all that will be needed is a factory reset and then a set up of the Echo via the local app?

And, most importantly, assuming that the side load is not infected with a virus, what are the downsides apart from the reset Echo not being able to do any locally relevant activity? No risk of bricking any hardware?


I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, and based on my experience with installing Alexa and using it on Sonos before it was available to me in the Canadian app store. In other words, sideloaded with an apk.
1) Sideloads of common apps are available from many sites. I am concerned about breaking group rules, so I won't list sites here. However, if you google "trusted apk sites" or look in reddit for a discussion about trusted sites you'll come up with a few that have existed for many years and have good reputations. If you save the download as an apk file on your android device you can install it directly from the device. Most download sites have instructions. If not, a google search will quickly result in a step-by-step procedure. It is extremely simple. As you point out, you must enable unknown sources in the privacy settings of your device. Then you basically launch the apk, and you'll install the app that is packaged in the filel.
2) I have never reset any Echo Dots for any reason. I have Alexa and Sonos working in both Canada and Brasil. In my case, the answer to that question is "no".
3) You should be okay with your US Amazon account. You might want to download the "Amazon Underground" app on the Android, available from Amazon. I seem to recall that it popped up at some point in my installation process. Unfortunately it has been a while since I did this in Canada, so I can't recall its exact involvement. I don't have an Amazon US account, just a Canadian account, and I was able to do this in Canada before Echos were announced for sale there. I purchased my Echo Dots in the U.S. I later configured the Dots in Brasil using the same method. They are not sold in Brasil, and the ones I use in Brasil were also purchased in the US.
4) Yes, the Sonos skills were there, in Alexa the app installed with the apk on Android. Unfortunately when you install an apk it usually won't update itself so you must be sure to continue to install the latest version. I updated with a new apk before configuring Sonos, because Sonos skills were not available in earlier versions. Once you have set this up you should also be able to use the Sonos skills in the iOS version of the Alex app, if you have access to a US or Canadian Apple store and can download it. It works fine. However, I could not set up Alexa/Sonos with iOS, and users other in countries where Echo is not sold have reported the same.
5) It does for me. I used a Canadian address because a few months ago Amazon started allowing Canadian addresses in the Alexa configuration, even though Echo gear was not at the time sold in Canada. I had previously used a fake US address, but at that point Alexa-Sonos capability did not exist. I assume you should be ok with a fake US address.
6) I can't answer that because I am not an Amazon Prime customer, although it is available in Canada and last week it was announced that it now includes the stripped down Amazon Prime Music in Canada. Previously it did not. Most serious music fans are disappointed in Amazon Prime Music, which has a far smaller selection than Amazon Music (not available to me in Canada or Brasil).
7) I have upgraded to the "real" Alexa app through the normal process in Canadian and Android and Apple stores (now that it is available to me) and things continue to work for me. In other words, I am now using the "local app." As far as I can see, it's the same as the US app when you obtain it through the Canadian sources. I don't know what will happen in other countries, because different languages and/or speaking voices may be involved.
Re your final question:
There is malware out there, and can be contained in apk files. I only use apks to try to get legit files that are not available through the country store connected to my phone (Canada). It seems that these are less likely to be affected by malware than apks involving hacks, cracks, freebies of paid software etc. I have never had a problem in about a decade of doing this with many phones and tablets. But I am not a frequent installer of apks, so my risk level is probably low. You might want to look here for some safety tips. https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/features/installing-an-apk-file-how-to-check-if-its-safe-1678081. Another trick is to download the Alexa apk from a number of sources. Check the exact file sizes before you install. if they're all the same, you're probably okay. If file sizes of identically named files are different, there may be something wrong with one or more of the files. Having said that, I have sideloaded the android Alexa app several times through downloaded apks with no problems. I have many friends who have done the same, with no problems.
I hope this helps.

Echo dot will only work if one of your Sonos devices has audio in Play 5, ZP 120 and you then must have “line in” selected as your source and BAM it’ll work

Not after the Alexa integration is released by Sonos in Canada - Dot will then work with play 1 units as well wirelessly.
Alexa is now up and running in Canada.
I heard it is the bilingual issue. Alexa no parlez vous Francais, yet.
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I heard it is the bilingual issue. Alexa no parlez vous Francais, yet.

That’s unfortunate, Google just released Google Home Max which looks like a Sonos Play 3. That product is launching first in US and Canada.

However, I was checking out other forums and there is a way to have Alexa in Canada. That is by switching the country in Amazon account to USA. Then voila! Alexa aparently will work like a charm. Ony thing about that idea is that I have to find an Echo because the Alexa app is not available yet in Canada 😞
I have Alexa working with my US Amazon account. Trying to get Sonos to work natively. There is a workaround called "My Speaker" that works. but you need to keep the app running on your computer. (Windows only).

You then say Alexa, ask my speaker to ...
OK, I got it working. You just change your Sonos address to the USA. Then add the SOnos Skill into Alexa and join your accounts. It only plays certain music streaming, but not apple music which is what we have in our family.
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If you set up Sonos and Alexa using the Alexa Android app or desktop, you can keep Alexa configured with a Canadian address. But you can’t do that with iOS ( which will eventually result in Amazon telling you the API is not available in Canada). After failing with my iPad, I succeeded with Alexa on my Android phone using my Canadian Amazon account and without having to change my Alexa address from Canada. Alexa began allowing Canadian addresses (good for weather etc.) a few months ago.
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I really hope Amazon launch Alexa soon in Canada and give us a more permanent ETA when it will launch. Instead of getting another Kindle 😞
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Am I dreaming? I just noticed Amazon is now selling the Echo dot in Canada ??
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Looks like you’re not dreaming. Thanks for the info.
Yeah, amazon has launched their echo dot, echo, and echo plus in Canada. My wife is pre-ordering some as we speak. Any word from Sonos when the ones are expected to work here?
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Yeah, amazon has launched their echo dot, echo, and echo plus in Canada. My wife is pre-ordering some as we speak. Any word from Sonos when the ones are expected to work here?
They can easily be made to work in Canada with Sonos. The ones I bought in the US are working fine in Canada, with a Canadian address configured in the Alexa app. I've done the same in Brasil (I live in both countries). The trick is to do set it up through the Android Alexa and Sonos app or the desktop. You'll run into problems if you try to do it through iOS, although that might change now that Echo gear will be sold in Canada. It also looks like Amazon Prime Music is finally in Canada, so everything might change now. I'm back in Brasil at the moment so I can't test that part.
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The India experience may be relevant. In addition to release of the hardware, there also needs to be an accompanying Alexa app release by Amazon. Once that is done, that has to contain Sonos Skills in it..
Sorry, I should have mentioned that those without access to the U.S. Android store can easily sideload the latest version of the Alexa app by downloading an apk. This is what I did, because until recently there was no app in the Canadian or Brasilian store. I presume it is now on the Canadian store. The only problem is that these versions of the Alexa app may or may not update automatically with new releases, so it may be necessary to load a new apk from time to time. If you have access to the U.S. Apple store you should also be able to download the Alexa app there, but as I noted above there are problems using it to configure Sonos from a country outside of the US. Once you've configured your Sonos, the Alexa app is perfectly usable on iOS devices.
Hey Ryan S What is so unique about the Canadian implementation of Sonos from the US that it will take so long? Why can’t it just simply be ported over as is?
Hey Ryan S What is so unique about the Canadian implementation of Sonos from the US that it will take so long? Why can’t it just simply be ported over as is?

The fact that Canada is a bilingual country is a rather obvious difference, is it not?
Sure. But Amazon has chosen to launch in English only for now. Add French later once it is ready in the ecosystem. The French population is mostly focused in Quebec and even there English is common in places like Montreal, etc.
It isn't just the language. The Alexa India app and devices are only in English in India at this time, but do not work with Sonos.
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I noticed today Staples is offering pre-sales on Amazon Echo. With all the voice autiomation tech being developed it is going to be a fun challenge to see what matches with which device. Great to hear that Alexa works well with my Sonos investment.
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Hey Ryan S What is so unique about the Canadian implementation of Sonos from the US that it will take so long? Why can’t it just simply be ported over as is?
I wouldn't want to speculate as I know there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that go into bringing support for Alexa to new regions. Part of it is accounting for accents and simply getting voice detection working on the Sonos One, another part is making sure all of the servers have good endpoints and the pathing between the Amazon cloud and the Sonos cloud for the region is working correctly. Also, we need to do a lot of testing on every part from start to finish. I'm sure there's way more I'm not even familiar with, but I don't want to start spreading rumors.

In short, there's a lot that goes into it, and we're working on them all right now.