Amazon Echo – Can Christmas Come Early?

Amazon Echo image1

I stumbled into the Amazon Echo on my Twitter feed. Didn’t you know Twitter is today’s global newspaper? Unfortunately, the item does not ship to the Philippines… aww. But I’m digressing.

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Amazon Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask. Cool, huh?

Amazon Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Amazon Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Amazon Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Amazon Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can set a different wake word for each—you can pick “Amazon”, “Alexa” or “Echo” as the wake word. And if your daughter’s name is Alexa, you better find another name for her.

“Alexa, find me a Chinese restaurant.”

“Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes.”

“Alexa, re-order paper towels.”

“Alexa, play Adele from Spotify.”

“ Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?”

Yep, Amazon Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Amazon Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet.

Amazon Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound.

“Alexa, play the Emo By Raffy playlist.”

“Alexa, turn it up.”

“Alexa, play ‘Today’s Hits’ on TuneIn.”

“Alexa, play the station KWXP.”

Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, Amazon Echo can hear you ask a question from any direction—even while playing music.

When you want to use Amazon Echo, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and Amazon Echo lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly.

Alexa—the brain behind Amazon Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Amazon Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Amazon Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.

Just in the last few months Yelp, movie showtimes, Samsung SmartThings support, Google Calendar, Audible audiobooks, text-to-speech for Kindle eBooks, and over 100 new skills from third-party developers have been added to the local search.

Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Dominos, requesting a ride from Uber, opening your garage with Garageio, and more. Enabling skills lets your Amazon Echo do even more—simply discover and enable the skills you want to use in the Alexa App.

New skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about skills in the Alexa App.

“Alexa, ask TV Shows what time does The Walking Dead start.”

“Alexa ask Campbell’s Kitchen for a recipe.”

“Alexa, ask HuffPost for headlines.”

“Alexa, ask Fidelity how is the NASDAQ doing today.”

Use Amazon Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger.

Amazon Echo works with devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink.

“Alexa, turn on the lights.”

“Alexa, turn off the TV.”

“Alexa, dim my bedroom lights.”

With the free Alexa App on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup and manage your Amazon Echo.

Use the Alexa App to connect services you’re already used to like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Calendar. Setup your smart home devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, ecobee, and more. See what books are available to read from your Kindle and Audible libraries. View shopping and to-do lists while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party skills.

Technical details:

List price of Amazon Echo is set at $179.99 via the Amazon website. Shipping and handling is not specified (because I never reached the final step of placing my order).

You can also order accessories from the same web page:

Voice Remote $29.99

  • Official remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
  • Connects to Amazon Echo and Echo Dot via Bluetooth
  • Includes an integrated microphone for when you are too far away or it’s too noisy for Echo to hear you
  • Dedicated buttons for volume up, volume down, play/pause, previous, and next
  • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot work with one remote at a time

Belkin WeMo: Switch $49.99 $39.98

  • Turn appliances and electronics on or off from anywhere. Never worry if you left the iron, coffeemaker or hair straightener on. Turn on the nightlight for your little ones!
  • Easy to install and simple to use
  • Set schedules and receive customized notifications
  • Works with any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.1 and higher or iOS 8 and higher. Electrical Rating120V/15A/60Hz/1800W
  • Works with Alexa for voice control hands-free convenience

Philips: Hue White Starter Kit $79.99

  • New and enhanced Hue white kit now upgraded from 750 to 800 lumens. with increased internal storage for added functionality
  • Works with Alexa for voice control. Also works with HomeKit for Apple iPhone integration (IOS 9 users only).Control your lights with Siri voice control. Turn your existing Hue lights into HomeKit controllable lights and discover exciting new uses through 3rd party Homekit apps
  • Gives you total control over your lighting from your smart phone or tablet – even when you’re away from home
  • Set timers and alarms, connect to a variety of apps, dim the light and more (cannot be used with conventional dimmers)
  • Control up to 50 Hue products on a single Philips Hue bridge – Compatible with Zigbee certified and Wink home automation products

Insteon Connected Home Starter Kit $119.99 $99.80

  • This kit includes an Insteon Hub and two dimmer modules – the hub allows you to control the two modules from your iOS, Android or Windows device
  • Automate lights to gently fade on your bedside lamp in the mornings and then automatically turn it off after you’ve left for work.
  • Insteon Hub expands to control thermostats (compatible with Insteon and Nest Learning Thermostats), light bulbs, ceiling fans, pool pumps
  • Insteon Hub allows control of your entire Insteon network from a smartphone or tablet
  • Works with Alexa for voice control

Power Adapter (additional)  $19.99

  • Official Amazon 21W power adapter for the Amazon Echo and 2nd Generation Amazon Fire TV
  • 6 foot long cord
  • UL Listed

Warranty and Accident Protection: 2 year  $39.99

  • Service plan term: 2 years
  • Your card will be charged immediately, but accident coverage starts when Echo is shipped
  • Receive a replacement device 2 to 3 days after you make a valid claim
  • Extends mechanical and electrical breakdown coverage
  • Make up to 3 claims during the term of your warranty
  • Cancel anytime, full refund in first 90 days
  • Fully transferable with gifts
  • No deductibles or shipping fees

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All Images and text source: Amazon Echo Official Site

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NOTE: “Post Views” only started 02 June 2016 (via installed plugin).

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