In technology news, seemingly out of nowhere, Amazon has launched a new device called the Echo. It’s priced at $199 but for a short time is available for $99 for Select Prime customers who receive an invitation.
What is the Echo? It’s a small black cylindrical device that you put in your room. The Echo can tell you the weather when you are getting ready for work. It can play music according to your instructions. You can ask it questions and it will respond to you on Wikipedia and Google news.
Basically it is like the Siri digital personal assistant, but uses sensors and a beam forming technology that can detect sounds from 360 degrees around the room. It plays music from popular streaming services including Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Pandora.
It even has a name — Alexa.
I always use my Siri personal digital assistant to set wake up alarms for me on my iPhone, so the idea of an “Echo” is absolutely intriguing. I have already signed up for an invite, and have read some of the early reviews for it, and watched demonstrations. It looks great!!
The Echo got so much media attention it even inspired a hilarious parody video which received well over 3 million YouTube views.
Whether the Echo is a success or not remains to be seen but I give to Amazon for thinking out of the box and introducing some unconventional ingenuity to the marketplace.