Amazon is no longer limited to only selling products made by other companies. The online retailer is launching its own products though not all of them have been a smashing success. Last week, the company launched Fire TV Stick, and this week its introducing “Amazon Echo,” a speaker you can talk to all day and give it voice commands, like Siri on Apple iPhone. Echo doesn’t really have any equivalent form any other tech company.
Similar to “OK Google “command, Echo speaker requires a “trigger phrase” to perk up and it is “Alexa.”. Alexa is a commercial web traffic monitoring service that is a subsidiary of Amazon. It listens to you all day and you can ask it for any information, play music, brief news and weather and more.
The 9 inches tall cylindrical device has room-filling sound, and an array of seven microphones tucked under it’s light ring, which use beam-forming tech to hear you from any direction. It can cancel out background noise, including playing music, in order to better interpret commands, and it processes voice input via Amazon’s Cloud-based web servers, meaning that it can perform better over time.
Echo provide hands-free volume control for Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Plus The fancy device features 360-degree-firing speaker, and is fully Bluetooth compatible so you can stream other popular music services like Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora from your phone or tablet. You can also get news and weather briefs form a variety of sources, including local radio stations, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn. You can quiz it with general questions like “How tall is the Mounteverst” and it extracts the basic information from Wikipedia. Of Course, Siri, Google Now, and Cortana , can perform similar tasks on your smartphone- but Amazon seems to think there’s a place in your living room for something special like this.
Amazon is offering a dedicated Echo app which ships along with the speaker, which is compatible with Fire OS and Android, as well as a web-based app for iOS Via Safari, and for control via desktop. The apps help you set up your service, to stay organized with voice-control alarms, check reminders and shopping lists you create and generally confirm info you input via the speaker itself.
It will start shipping in the coming weeks according to Amazon, and will cost $199 or $99 for prime members for a limited time, it is available by invitation only right now.