What’s an Amazon Echo?

What is an Amazon Echo?

That’s a fantastic question. The quick answer is that the Amazon Echo is the device that Tim Cook wishes Apple came up with.

When Amazon tried to compete with Apple & Google in the smartphone market, it was a sad and terrible bloodbath. The Amazon Fire Phone didn’t light anyone’s fire (I’m a great writer!) even though some say it’s a superior product. (Okay, no one said the Amazon Fire smartphone is superior to the iPhone… it just seemed like the provocative thing to write. Deal with it.)

To me the question “What is it?” is a sign that a product is something brilliant or completely insane and useless. It means that it’s designed to fill a need that you may not have ever realized you needed.

Remember: It wasn’t too long ago that people would ask “Why in the sam hill would I want a computer in my home?”

What is an Amazon Echo?
Cut to: The Amazon Echo. A virtual assistant that uses something named “Alexa” to answer questions, control the lights in your home, take orders, create schedules, call you an Uber (YOU’RE AN UBER! HAHAHA!) and other fun and cool things like make fart noises.

Amazon has a winner. My family loves it. So much so, that I’ve started this blog/site about the Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot & Amazon Tap to hip other people to it and (full disclosure) maybe make a buck or two in the process.

The Amazon Echo sold out at first but they are now well-stocked and even adding variations, the Amazon Dot & the Amazon Tap. You can learn more about the Amazon Dot here and the Amazon Tap here.

What does an Amazon Echo cost?
The Amazon Echo is $180, the Amazon Dot runs about a Benjamin less at $89.99, but it’s only available for Amazon Prime members and can only be ordered through an Amazon Echo!

Robot killer? Yes!

I’m sure this method of ordering the Amazon Dot will change, but it’s sorta cool now. The Amazon Tap, basically a very cool Bluetooth speaker, is $129 and will ship beginning March 31. The Amazon Dot’s availability is sporadic. They said mine will arrive this JUNE!!!

How does it work?
One interacts with the Amazon Echo by speaking to it. But instead of saying “Hey, Siri, open Waze… I said OPEN WAZE! COME ON SIRI!!! HELLO?!” or something, you preface your commands, nay, DEMANDS, with “Alexa…”

Example: “Alexa, play Rockingham by Nerf Herder.”

As of this writing, (March, 2016) in addition to Prime Music, the Amazon Echo (and Echo only) connects to music services:

  • Spotify Premium
  • Pandora
  • TuneIn
  • iHeartRadio
  • Audible

Audible? Did you say Audible?
Why yes… yes I did. Your Amazon Echo will read your digital books from Audible.com to you. Sure, it’s a little HAL-9000, but who doesn’t like being read to?

In addition to Audible, the Amazon Echo will read books to you from your Kindle library.

Not only that, but Amazon has decided to let programmers and other noodling types, create “Skills” which enhance the functionality of the Amazon Echo with voice-driven capabilities. Like what? Well, you can play math games, learn about concerts in your area or even get your device to cut the cheese.

Home Automation
I’ve saved the thing I know least about, Home Automation, for last. I’m cool like that.

With the The Amazon Echo, you can link & control devices exactly like the Belkin WeMo Light Switch, Belkin WeMo Outlet & Philips Hue Light Bulbs. “Alexa, turn on the lights.” “Alexa, dim the bedroom.” “Alexa, clean my room. Right now!”

Okay, the Amazon Echo can’t clean your room. Yet. Give it some time and I’m betting you it will at least control an iRobot Roomba or some other Robotic Vacuum.



Keep checking back in the Articles section to see new and cool things the Amazon Echo can do for you.

A video from Amazon


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