Amazon Echo is a smart speaker developed by Amazon.com. The device consists of a 9.25-inch tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. The device responds to the name Alexa. This wake word can be changed by the user to either Amazon or Echo. The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audio books, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.
WHAT IS THE AMAZON ECHO
Imagine a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speaker, but one with a voice-controlled personal assistant inside. That’s the Amazon Echo, which gives you a personal assistant called Alexa. She is the first AI personal assistant to merit a dedicated device. She will listen to commands, answer questions, play music or control smart home devices, interact with third-party apps, answer questions and even help you do your shopping. It may seem quite imposing when you lift it out of the box, but the matte black or white Echo is quite inconspicuous. It won’t look out of place in most living environments.
Amazon Echo review
Since introducing the original Amazon Echo in November 2014, Amazon has continued to refresh and expand its lineup of hands-free, voice-enabled speakers. In August, Sonos announced that it will add support for Amazon’s Alexa voice control in 2017. Sonos did not mention new hardware; rather, the initial integration will require Sonos wireless speakers and an Alexa-compatible Amazon device, such as the Echo or Echo Dot. The company has scheduled a private beta to begin later this year, with a public release slated for early 2017.
The free Amazon Alexa App is a companion to your Alexa device for setup, remote control, and enhanced features. Alexa is always ready to play your favorite music, provide weather and news updates, answer questions, create lists, and much more. Alexa’s brain is in the cloud, so she continually learns and adds more functionality over time. The more you use Alexa, the more she adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.
Amazon Echo vs. Google Home in a virtual standoff
When Amazon’s Echo hit the market two years ago, this dream came true sort of. The Echo was an affordable futuristic device that responded to voice commands. You could ask “Alexa” a question and get an immediate response. This little black cylinder is clearly not full-on artificial intelligence, but it has wowed customers.
HOW TO SET UP YOUR NEW AMAZON ECHO
Woah, you got an Amazon Echo. Sweet! This slick little gadget is your first step toward creating a smarter home. Now that you’ve got one, Alexa will help you do all kinds of amazing things, like order a pizza, summon an Uber, and tell you how to mix a perfect Manhattan. What she won’t do is set up your Echo. Don’t worry. It’s dead simple. First, make sure your Echo is charged. All set? Great. Turn it on and set up the WiFi connection by installing the Alexa app on your phone. Fire up the app, and it’ll walk you through configuring your Echo.
A Christmas Carol for free on the Amazon Echo
Now through January third, Amazon and Audible are giving away the audio version of A Christmas Carol for free on Alexa-enabled devices, like the Echo. This version is narrated by Tim Curry, who as Engadget notes was once the voice of Ebeneezer Scrooge in an animated version of the tale. He also played Scrooge for Macy’s 2001 Thanksgiving Day parade. So, you know, he has Scrooge bona fides in addition to being an excellent butler and singer.
Amazon Echo vs. Google Home The choice is obvious
Amazon Echo was launched almost two years ago and it marked the arrival of AI powered virtual assistants that were not tethered to a cell phone. We don’t have screens glued to our faces, we interact with each other through voice and words. Alexa was a very natural evolution of what a real virtual assistant should be. Echo’s always listening microphones gained acceptance in the home; Echo became a household phenomenon. The success of Alexa encouraged Google. Then, Google Home was launched in October, 2016.