At first glance, Amazon Echo looks like an ordinary portable speaker, but if you dig deeper, you'll find that it's so much more. Surprisingly priced at $179, the Amazon Echo is in line to become a household staple, like the television and the microwave. So what is Amazon Echo good for? Slate Magazine calls it the "always-on personal assistant." CNN calls it the "computer of the future." Over 21,000 people have submitted reviews on Amazon, and it's currently the #1 BEST SELLER in the Home Audio Speakers category.
Voiced in the same fashion as Apple's "Hey, Siri" and Google's "Ok Google", to activate Amazon Echo, the user voices the name "Alexa", followed by a command or question. Amazon has been developing Echo for at least four years. Echo was part of Amazon’s first attempts to expand its device portfolio beyond the original Kindle E-reader.
Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.
Amazon is always adding new capabilities to Echo. Recently, they’ve added streaming music from Pandora, audiobooks from Audible, Google Calendar access, live sports scores and schedules, traffic reports, Amazon.com re-ordering, control of connected devices with WeMo and Philips Hue, and more.
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Michael Damond is a lifestyle consultant and personal stylist for men from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL.
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