When robotics introduced in the world, people were mesmerized by this miraculous technology that created robots and computer systems working on the instructions from humans. But human imagination has no limit, and it keeps churning better ideas out to make life easier, entertaining and comfortable. Just like robots, which were designed to be faithful companions of human, here is another one that can be your family member at home or even at your office.
Amazon Echo is a new age voice-controlled computer for you. According to Stacey Higginbotham, this 9.25-inch tall cylindrical device “combines the abilities of Siri and Bluetooth speaker.” If you still are hazy about Amazon Echo, here is what it is.
Amazon Echo is a smart computer that works entirely on voice commands; it’s hands-free and always on. It gives you information, plays music, audiobooks, provides news and weather information, provides details of traffic, sports and more. This 1045-gram Echo built with seven microphones and beam-forming technology can interact with you from any corner of your home as its far-field voice recognition hears you from across the room. Ask anything regarding general awareness and Echo will instantly reply with the correct answer as it is connected to Alexa, a cloud-based service. For the physically-challenged, this device works like a friend that switches on and off lights following your commands. For fun, Echo can tell you jokes too! And how can you work without music; Echo can play music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and more.
It’s a good listener…but guys, you can’t propose Echo!
Jokes apart, Amazon Echo listens to your voice no matter where you are in your room or home. Its seven microphones placed under Echo’s light ring use beam-forming technology to listen to your voice from any direction. Call it a multi-tasker or appreciate its voice cancellation feature, Echo can listen to your question even while it’s playing music. You can use a remote control to give voice commands from a distance or in a noisy environment, apart from skipping songs and adjusting volume.
Once you bring it home, set a wake word, which prepares the device to listen to your commands. Its on-device keyword spotting technology easily identifies the wake word (you can use Alexa or Amazon as wake word), and it lights up and streams audio to the cloud. The far-field voice recognition is especially helpful for the visually-challenged people, who can interact with Echo.
One of the major benefits of smart technology is that it is ever-evolving; Echo is also evolving day by day. With the passage of time, it gets familiarized with your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. Since it is connected with Cloud, Echo gets updated automatically at regular intervals. Amazon is piling up new features to this device; recently Echo has been bolstered with Pandora, Audible (library of audiobooks), Google Calendar access, live sports scores and schedules, traffic updates, re-ordering on Amazon.com, control of connected devices with WeMo and Philips Hue.
Download Amazon Echo App on your Mobile/Tablet
Download the free companion app [iPhone | Android] on your mobile or tablet and stay connected with Echo from wherever you are. Connect your app to your Wi-Fi network and manage your alarms, shopping lists, to-do lists, music and more sitting in your office or playing with your kids at the park.
Calendars: Check your upcoming schedule by asking what’s on your Google calendar.
Shopping: Restock on previously purchased items by re-ordering Prime-eligible products in your Amazon shopping history.
Connected home: Control compatible WeMo and Philips Hue devices with your voice.
Traffic: Hear commute time and the fastest route to your destination.
Sports: Ask for sports scores and schedules from the NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, and more.
Pandora: Listen to and discover music from Pandora’s library of over 1 million tracks.
Music: Listen to your Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
News, weather, and information: Hear up-to-the-minute weather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn.
Questions and answers: Get information from Wikipedia, definitions, answers to common questions, and more.
Alarms, timers, and lists: Stay on time and organized with voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping lists, and to-do lists.
More coming soon: Echo automatically updates through the cloud with new services and features.
Technical Specifications of Amazon Echo
|Size||9.25″ x 3.27″ x 3.27″ (235 mm x 83.5 mm x 83.5 mm)|
|Weight||26.9 oz. (1045 grams)|
|Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks. Does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Echo and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices.|
|Audio||2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter.|
|System Requirements||Amazon Echo comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Echo companion app is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser.|
|Warranty and Service||1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Amazon Echo is subject to the terms found here.|
|Included in the Box||Amazon Echo, power adapter/cable, and quick start guide|
Price of Amazon Echo and Companion Accessories
- Amazon Echo: $179.99. Pre-order it from Amazon.com
- Echo Voice Remote: $29.99. Buy it from Amazon.com
- Belkin WeMo: Light Switch: $49.99 [$39 on Amazon while we are writing this.] Buy it from Amazon.com
- Philips Hue: Lux Starter Kit: $79.97. Buy it from Amazon.com
- Warranty and Accident Protection (2 Year): $39.99. Buy it from Amazon.com