Ready to add another member to your family? That’s what the Amazon Echo will be. My first impression when Amazon introduced this new virtual PA that could rival Siri, Google Now, and Cortana was that “The future is here”. I’m talking about the futuristic era where robots will become a standard in every household.
Meet the Amazon Echo. It looks like a simple tube speaker but it can do more than just play your favorite songs. It “talks” back to you as any voice assistant. Unlike the current personal assistants found on mobile devices today, the Amazon Echo is a standalone device that can tell you any information you want.
Amazon Echo aka Alexa can play music, deliver news, and inform you of the weather. It can even wake you up as an alarm system. Just call “Alexa” and it will respond to your every question or request. This home assistant works via a cloud connection so it must be connected to the Internet at all times.
The Amazon Echo is voice-controlled for hands-free convenience so you can just say anything you want from anywhere in the room, thanks to voice recognition technology. It features seven microphones that work as sensors that utilize a beam-forming technology to hear a person from any direction. Its noise cancellation feature also allows Alexa to hear you even when it’s playing a song.
Amazon says Alexa will always get smarter because it is connected to the cloud. It runs on Amazon Web Services so it adds and learns more information and functionality every time. Amazon Echo also adapts to a person’s personal preferences, vocabulary, and speech patterns.
Design-wise, the Amazon Echo looks like a Bluetooth-enabled tube speaker. Specs include a 2.5-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter. The seven small microphones are found near the ring at the top. There’s also bass reflex port found between the microphones and the woofer.
Amazon Echo offers voice-controlled support for Prime Music, Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and of course, basic Bluetooth streaming of audio from your tablet or smartphone.
Amazon has also released an Echo app for different platforms like Android, Fire OS, iOS, and desktop browsers. It comes with a remote so you can adjust the volume and music playback. If you want to know something, just ask Alexa and “she” will answer you. Need to prepare a grocery shopping list? Tell Alexa to add an item to the list.
Amazon is offering the Amazon Echo for $199. Prime members can get it cheaper at $99 only. It’s not widely available yet. It’s by invitation only so cross your fingers Alexa will choose you once you request an invitation.