The $180 Amazon Echo is a friggen game changer. Put it in your kitchen or living room and after about 5 minutes of setup you have an intelligent speaker that you can ask for news, sports, audio books, and of course music. You can also ask the Echo any question you can think of and more often than not (but less often than Google) it returns a good answer. The magic is in the always-on, far field speaker which happens to be able to understand language as good as any natural language processor out there – even from way across the room. You don’t need to have your phone on and nearby – you are hands free anywhere within earshot.
Amazon has added a ton of services that connect the Echo over the past year to just about anything in your home. Most smart thermostats, garage door openers, etc. etc now work with Alexa, Amazon’s assistant. Additionally, Amazon has worked with other partners to do things like order delivery pizza, get rides from Uber, and of course buy stuff from Amazon.
I’ve been using the Amazon Echo Dot which went on sale today (for delivery in October with new colors and combinations now only $50) for the past 3 months and I love it for its portability and its expandability even more than the $130 more expensive original. Let me explain:
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