“Alexa, play Stevie Wonder’s Greatest Hits 1” I say to my new friend Alexa as I dance around my kitchen whipping up some amazing chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and coffee to get my Sunday morning started. Have you met my friend Alexa? She’s wonderful! Oh and did I mention she lives on my kitchen counter and can grant many wishes, just by the sound of my voice? Did I also mention she’s a speaker?? YEAH! I know! You thought I had a magic genie or something, but no! Just an amazing new device – allow me to introduce you to the Amazon Echo.
What is the Amazon Echo and How it Works?
Released November 2014, but truly taking over the market in 2015, the Amazon Echo is so much of what you’ve ever wanted in a speaker and more! Designed completely around voice recognition, the Amazon Echo is a “personal assistant” speaker for your everyday needs. For those of your familiar with software such as Siri, Cortana, or other voice activated digital aids, the Amazon Echo is another great tool that can be added to that list!
Comprised of beam-forming technology and seven microphones located on top of the speaker, Echo is always listening, hand-free and can pick up your voice from across the room, even as the music plays! Where does the ‘Alexa’ part come in you ask? Excellent Question!! Alexa, is a cloud-based voice service that does all of the searching, playing, reading, and reporting for you. Connected through your home Wi-Fi and the app, Alexa is what brings your Amazon Echo to life on your command, by just stating her name – Alexa. (There are two options for this setting, Alexa or Amazon. This is known as the wake word) Similar to other device voice services we’ve used with our technology, Alexa gets better the more you used her. As your relationship with her strengthens, she adapts to your speech, terminology, and preferences; she also updates automatically! She has many voice features; you just have to try her out for yourself!
I remember the first time I discovered my new friend Alexa. It was this summer, at the house of a good friend. We were catching up about life and out of nowhere, he says ‘Alexa’ set 4-minute timer.’ At first thought, I was confused as we were the only two people in his house. So naturally I asked, “umm, who are you talking to because it’s clearly not me.” And that’s when we met! A small cylindrical speaker, sitting atop the kitchen counter, blending in and standing out all at the same time. I’d recommend this speaker to anyone who is looking for something great to entertain with, use on their own or who hates to get up to turn the speaker on and off when you’re done with it. And for all you Oprah fanatics reading this, Amazon Echo is featured on the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2015!!
Available for $179.99 on Amazon.com, and available for two-day shipped for Prime members when in stock, the Amazon Echo – my trusty friend Alexa, would be the perfect gift for anyone!
- Easy Setup: Connect to your home network and the free companion app works with Kindle Fire OS, Android, iOS and desktop browsers
- Need something? Just Ask!
- Provides local search, calendar, shopping, alarms, timers, lists, traffic, Pandora, Amazon Music, Weather, News and so much more!
Home Connections & App
- Alexa App – companion app to accommodate you while you’re on the go through any of the supported devices listed above.
- Other devices: Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink