Amazon is looking to bring the future of household technology today by introducing the Amazon Echo, loudspeaker and virtual personal assistant.
Also known as Alexa, the Amazon Echo looks like a traditional tube speaker. It is fitted with a 2.5-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter that help give 360 degrees of audio. It is also outfitted with a 7-array microphone that would be able to pick up voice commands from multiple directions and even when you are listening to music. This allows for the easier detection of the hot word, “Alexa”.
The Amazon Echo is connected to Amazon Web Services, which is where it gets information for you. These include getting the latest news and weather read out to you, search for things on Wikipedia, and of course stream music through services such as Amazon Music Library and iHeartRadio. It can also act as an alarm clock and stream music from Android and iOS devices through Bluetooth. Clearly, Amazon is aiming to compete with the other popular personal assistant software such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now and Apple’s Siri, and with the Echo, they are aiming to bring the personal assistant to households.
As connectivity is concerned, the Amazon Echo needs to be connected to the internet to perform a large part of its functions. But Amazon assures us that being constantly connected to Amazon Web Services is a good thing as it also allows the Echo to learn and adapt to speech patterns. Amazon has also released an Echo app for Android, iOS, Fire OS and even for desktop browsers to allow the creation of to-do lists enable other services across platforms. Besides, the value of the Amazon Echo will only elevate if it can perform more functions by interacting with Kindle Fire tablets or even any other mobile device.
At the moment, the Amazon Echo is only available for purchase through invitation only, but you can of course request for an invite through this link. It retails for $199 through the invitation but Prime members can get it for a lower price of $99.