The buzz around the Amazon Echo has been steadily growing with the tech community and now in the consumer world. It’s actually been out for a year and a new version is on the horizon, but this gadget is starting to make Amazon a player in the gadget arena. The Amazon Echo is engaging consumers in a whole new way.
When you start asking Echo questions it starts to become a real conversation. Google Now and Siri have paved the way for smart voice activation and detailed responses. But Echo seems to go the extra step. The technology keeps getting better every year. Echo comes into your house and “Alexa” (Echo’s wake word) seems very human.
What is the Echo?
For those just catching up the Echo works nicely with Amazon services as you can imagie. It plays all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice. Alexa fills the room with an immersive, 360º omni-directional audio speaker. Alexa hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing. She answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, all through a cloud-based voice service.
Echo is always ready, always on, connected, and fast. Just say the wake word, “Alexa,” and the world is at your command.
You can even have Echo controls lights and switches with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, and other smart home devices. She always getting smarter and incorporates new features and skills. The Echo app store, aka the “Skills” section in the Amazon Alexa mobile app, has now grown to over 130 applications. That’s not a bad showing for the still relatively new, voice-controlled speaker. You can now order a pizza from Domino’s and get a car through Uber.
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Amazon might be planning to launch a new Echo speaker in the next few weeks, according to a report from CNET. The new Echo speaker, code-named Fox, is apparently smaller, battery powered, and cheaper than the original. It is similar in size to a can of soda, and stands vertically with a speaker grill at the head of the device.
End of the day this is a pretty cool gadget. Voice activated devices have had a hard time gaining wide adoption from consumers. Since most people don’t want to be caught talking to their phones in public, the Echo provides the craziness in the comforts of your home. I think the Echo will be the gateway device to more voice activated popularity.