Introducing The Echo
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon.
Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for purchase on an invite-only basis from Amazon. Seven months after it was announced, Amazon made its Echo speaker available for purchase to the general public. The retail price of the Amazon Echo is $199, but Amazon is currently offering it for $179.99.
Let's give you a quick guided tour of the device, here on video first, then we'll dive in deeper:
Echo is connected to Alexa, Amazon's cloud-based voice service. As a result, Echo is capable of becoming smarter and gaining new skills as more and more people develop functionality for it. In fact, many new features have been added since the Echo was initially announced including home automation functionality and an SDK for developers.
Amazon’s Echo has generated a good amount of buzz and attention since it was first introduced. As is the case with all new gadgets, we have to wonder if the Echo is a fast-fleeting trend or something that’s really useful and will be a part of our lives for years to come. Join us in the coming pages as we dive in to see what the Echo has to offer and if this new device is worthy of becoming part of our electronic family.