Amazon Unveils Echo, A Speaker That Doubles As Your Voice Assistant
Today, Amazon unveiled a new product called Echo, a cylindrical speaker that doubles as your Google Now / Siri-like voice assistant that is able to answer a variety of questions and perform various functions.
The cloud connected device is controlled using only voice input and will wake when you say the word "Alexa." Like Google Now and Siri, the device can answer questions about the time and weather, as well as perform tasks like playing music or taking a note.
According to Amazon, Echo uses far-field voice recognition technology that utilizes seven microphones to detect a request no matter where you are located in the room. The device is also equipped with downward-facing speakers that will reportedly provide an immersive room-filling sound experience.
Echo allows users to access services like Amazon Music, TuneIn Radio, and iHeartRadio to play music straight from your device using the device's built-in Bluetooth.
The device is designed to learn and gain functionality over time. Using a companion app, which will only work on devices running Amazon's Fire OS or Android, or a web interface lets users perform tasks such as creating alarms, shopping lists, and more.
Amazon's Echo is priced at $199 (or $99 if you are an Amazon Prime customer), however it currently requires users to request an invitation from Amazon in order to be able to purchase the device. Note: The device appears to be U.S. only at the time of this post.