What's 9 inches tall and looks like a speaker but can answer your questions and learn your habits? It's Amazon Echo, and it dropped Thursday. With its cylindrical shape and blue accent ring light embellishment at the top, it doubles as a speaker and a digital personal assistant reminiscent of Apple’s Siri, but it's arguably much better. Stark Insider referred to is as “the biggest tech surprise of 2014.”
The device goes by the name “Alexa” and users can ask it anything. Need to know simple things like the time or the weather? Alexa has the answer. Need to know something more obscure, like how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? Alexa has the proper response. It can tell the news, play music, remember shopping lists and even tell jokes.
More than that, it has seven built-in microphones and sensors that can detect voice commands from any direction -- so there's no need to yell. It "can fill any room with immersive sound," Amazon said.
So how much for a device that seemingly has all the answers? Amazon Echo costs $99 for Amazon Prime members for a limited time and $199 for everyone else. Since a membership for Amazon Prime is $99, it’s a good incentive for consumers to sign up for the service.
In a good but scary feature, Amazon Echo can learn a person’s habits over time. It will get used to the way a person talks, his/her habits and routines and will save all the data in the cloud. Mashable surmised that users might be able to tell the personal-assistant device to perform home commands like dimming the lights and controlling the thermostat.
For now, Amazon Echo can be purchased through “invitation only” from Amazon. Invitations can be requested here.
For those who aren't convinced they need Amazon Echo when they have a personal assistant in their pocket, check out the promo below:
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