Looks like there is a new player in town in the game of AI personal assistants. In a weird, and unexpected move, Amazon introduced Echo. Like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, Echo is a personal assistant that is voice activated.
Designed to be always on, you activate Echo by saying its wake word “Alexa”. Like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, you can ask it for information such as news and weather, find the answers to questions, set alarms and to-do lists, and play music. With regards to music playback, the device can either act as a hands-free controller for Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, or you can stream the likes of iTunes and Spotify to it via your smartphone or tablet.
Constantly connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi, Amazon says Echo will not only get smarter over time, it will also improve as it adapts to your personal speech patterns, vocabulary, and preferences. Echo has a total of seven microphones which enable it to hear you wherever you are in the room, and thanks to enhanced noise cancellation, you can even ask it questions while it’s playing music. ~ GeekBeat.tv
So far Echo comes with an accompanying app for Fire and Android and only a browser based application for iOS. Currently Amazon is only selling echo by “Invitation only” for $199 – however for a limited time Prime users will only spend $99
In my opinion, the video below makes it seem perfect. Then again so did the ads for Siri and we all know how frustrating that can be. While I personally have no use for this, I guess I can see how it can be useful for busy families. I do however like the alarm and news functions they showed in the video below