Amazon's new AI coding tool has one HUGE advantage over Microsoft's GitHub Copilot

An orange robot representing Amazon coding at a computer
(Image credit: Windows Central / Bing Image Creator)

What you need to know

  • Amazon has officially thrown its hat into the generative AI arena with the announcement of its own batch of tools, including a competitor for GitHub Copilot. 
  • CodeWhisperer is a similar product in that it has been designed to help code writing with the power of AI suggestions. 
  • Unlike Github Copilot, CodeWhisperer is free for personal use (at least for now) 

We all knew it was coming. After Microsoft and Google both debuted their own respective AI projects, up steps Amazon. One of its new tools is called CodeWhisperer and it's a direct competitor for Microsoft-owned GitHub's AI Copilot. 

There's one key area Amazon has completely one-upped GitHub, though. CodeWhisperer is (at least for the time being) free to use for individuals. GitHub Copilot requires a subscription which starts at $10 a month or $100 a year. That's a pretty big deal and is sure to prick up more than a few ears. 

So, what's it all about then? From the official announcement

"Trained on billions of lines of code and powered by machine learning, CodeWhisperer has the same goal. Whether you are a student, a new developer, or an experienced professional, CodeWhisperer will help you to be more productive."

"CodeWhisperer will continually examine your code and your comments, and present you with syntactically correct recommendations. The recommendations are synthesized based on your coding style and variable names, and are not simply snippets."

Initially you'll be able to use CodeWhisperer inside a selection of popular IDEs, including PyCharm and Microsoft's Visual Studio Code. Initially supported languages include Python, JavaScript, and Java. 

To get started with Amazon CodeWhisperer all you need to do is sign up for the preview, get a code and then use that code in the extension in your chosen IDE. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the link to sign-up for the preview doesn't seem to go anywhere, but hopefully that'll be resolved soon. 

Either way, it's a genuine competitor to GitHub Copilot and the fact that individual developers can use it for free makes it extremely tempting. It's not as mature, yet, but eventually it will be. It'll be interesting to see if, or how, GitHub responds. 

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at