Is it hype for hype’s sake, or does the Amazon Echo really bring something new and innovative to the table? Well, we think that it brings something interesting to the table, especially when it comes to integrating technology into the home. So, what is so special about the Amazon Echo?
Glad you asked.
The Amazon Echo is designed to be a digital assistant for the here and now. It’s more than just a speaker system, even though it performs this very well. It can play your favorite music, check the weather, read the news to you, and even give you sports scores for a game that’s already played.
But it can do more than even those things. If you’re trying to set an alarm to wake up at a certain time in the morning, you can do that. If you want to get traffic reports, you can do that as well. Need to research a famous figure on Wikipedia before you dig further? Yes, it’s true: you can do that.
Alexa is the “wake word” for the Echo, and Alexa is a cloud-based service that is always ready to help you and it adapts to your voice. This technology is really great for many disabled people, who may not be able to handle all of these tasks unassisted.
Amazon claims that with the Echo, you can always be heard even when you’re across the room. You just need to start the command with Alexa, and the speaker stick will take care of the rest. Because of the on-board noise cancellation, the device can hear you talking to it even when there’s music already playing. Very innovative indeed!
You might wonder why there’s such a big push on the cloud when it comes to the Amazon Echo. This is because Alexa has to get adjusted to your voice and what you want to know. New skills will be added all of the time in order to keep the device from getting outdated too quickly. This means that you will be able to access audiobooks with ease, or turn around and add things to your calendar.
The real fun of the Echo, of course, is being able to connect it to different items around the home. You can connect instantly to Phillips Hue devices, as well as WeMo and Wink connected devices. You will have to buy an additional kit to make this work. You can use Echo to turn on the lamp or even a fan, or dim the lights.
Even if you don’t have a connected home yet, you can control the echo through a Kindle fire or Android app. The Wi-Fi on the Eco is very smooth, and it can broadcast through Bluetooth very easily. Hands-free control is the name of the game, and the Amazon Echo truly delivers.
There are some natural drawbacks to the Echo in its current version. You have to keep it plugged in, which means that you can’t just carry it everywhere you go. A rechargeable version would be more ideal for later versions. Language support is a bit limited right now to just English, but there have been talks about expanding to other languages very soon.
Overall, we think that the Amazon Echo is awesome, and we look forward to seeing newer versions come out very soon.