Amazon Echo is an always listening ‘smart’ Bluetooth speaker that’s part Siri, part Google Voice Search


Amazon Echo

Available only by invitation, earlier today Amazon took the wraps off their latest hardware project a Bluetooth speaker and voice recognition system they’re calling Echo. It’s actually pretty interesting. The Amazon Echo mimics the always-listening functionality found in Motorola’s smartphone (or charging iPhones) and allows you to speak commands, search queries or create lists by speaking voice commands.

Because have to re-speak commands is never fun, the Echo is actually outfitted with 7 microphones to hear you no matter where you are in the room — near or far. And it’s smart too. Because it’s internet connected, Amazon says the Echo will continually learn, adding additional functionality over time. As of right now, here’s what the Echo can do:

  • 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.
  • Music: Listen to your Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
  • Alarms, timers, and lists: Stay on time and organized with voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping and to-do lists.
  • Questions and answers: Get information from Wikipedia, definitions, answers to common questions, and more.
  • More coming soon: Echo automatically updates through the cloud with new services and features.

Amazon Echo features

The Echo will also have a companion app for Android devices to help manage things like alarms, shopping lists, music and all that stuff listed above. There’s no solid release date, only a vague “in the coming weeks” launch was given. Pricing is $200 or $100 for Amazon Prime members, but only for a limited time and you’ll need to request and invite here.

Overall, it’s not a bad speaker for what it offers, of course we’ll need to hear how well it performs in person before we pull the trigger on a purchase. What do you guys think?

Be sure to visit our Amazon Echo forums!

[Amazon Echo]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I dig it, for a hund, very intriguing

    1. Indeed. Cheaper than a Logitech UE Boom and has voice controls. Pretty neat.

      1. Can you tell it to STFU? This is how I like to treat my gadgets some times.

        1. “OK Amazon, STFU”.

          “Yes Sir”

  2. Great idea, but my phone, which I always have on me, already does this.

    1. Your phone has a subwoofer in it? :O

      1. A 300w woofer!
        Well, ok, no. But I don’t need a woofer for answers, and I can already send my music to my receiver.

        I think it’s a cool product, it just seems it’s being born on the edge of obsolescence. More so than a lot of tech.

        It is probably the closest product so far to Sara, the house from Eureka, though!

  3. Wish I had play money this time of year! Would by this instantly if the holiday season want so close.

  4. Already purchased ;)

  5. I want to get this for my brother, who is completely visually impaired. It’s still not practical for him to use a smart phone, so something like this would be great for him.

  6. WOW, AMAZON just won’t quit.
    They’ll come up with anything to try & extract more information from you to better market their wares & expect you to pay for the pleasure.

    No thanks, even if you bundle it w/one of those kick-ass Fire phones, I’ll pass.

    Nice try AMAZON.

    1. Every brand does that. Apple and Google are well known data collectors . This is the new world we live in. Learn to live with it

      1. I’m well aware of that,just saying why pay $100-$200 for the pleasure?

        1. Well you paid at least $200 when you bought a phone for the pleasure. I fail to see how this is any different. Anyway it sucks but complaining won’t do anything.

          1. Who’s complaining?
            I’m just saying why pay for yet another device,one which is damn near obsolete out of the gate,when you have other devices that pretty much do the same thing.

    2. Dont let the door hit you in the ass on your way out…

      1. Drunk post much?

  7. $200 without amazon prime, $100 with amazon prime.. Hmm, nice way to get people to sign up for amazon prime! lol. Good marketing tactic. The video is pretty outstanding. To those saying that your phone already does this: Generally you have to pick up your phone or hold it near you to say that. Try talking to your phone from across the room.. It’s a nice accessory to have layin around in your bedroom and living room that’s just always there.

  8. She shall be mine. I’m so glad I kept my Prime this year.

  9. Really innovative. Smart homes are the future and if this can be be integrated to control home functions it would be perfect like locking doors

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. Amazon eventually wants every house to have one of these — whether single, married, family — and the capabilities could easily extend to smarter homes and programmable gadgets.

  10. Can you pair it to your phone to answer calls?

  11. I live in a single apartment, where my computer is always in earshot, so google now meets all my needs, but if I had a house, especially if that house had any automated features and this could activate those, I’d buy this in a heartbeat

  12. I dunno, maybe it’s a generational thing, but the whole “voice command” concept just doesn’t appeal to me. I guess part of it is that I just don’t trust the interface to get things right. I’d rather just pick up a phone, tablet, laptop, etc. and use a keyboard, where I know I won’t have any trouble getting to whatever I want.

  13. Will it be as annoying as my Xbox 360, picking up voice commands that were NOT intentional? So annoying.

  14. I don’t understand all the complaining. People spend more than this on a crappy bluetooth speaker like the beats Pill that does nothing more than play music.This device is interesting and if Amazon wants to use the info to send me better deals, great!
    Sure, the Fire phone was a failure, but Jeff Bezos wasn’t afraid to try.
    It’s easy for so many people still living at home with mommy and daddy who never had an original idea in their life to slam Amazon and others.

  15. Well if this isn’t the creepiest fuckin’ thing I’ve read this month…

  16. Can it play music from my Google account?

  17. One correction android devices equipped with Google Now can be turned to be always listening mode while charging. I have it on for Nexus 10 and Oneplus One. While charging and locked I can say “OK Google” and they respond.

  18. I hope I can change the name Alexa. I’d prefer “HAL 9000” or even “Fire” over Alexa.

  19. I imagine it wouldn’t be too far fetch for someone to make a speaker dock for your phone or tablet to do the same in terms of subwoofer and better microphone. I’m guessing amazon intends to make this integrate with their casting stick.

  20. I think we need to reserve judgement until this thing lands and there is real user experience to look at. I love google now and use it often but many times when I ask a question it responds by bring up a link for me to go to. Obviously echo won’t be able to do that. The idea here is that echo will be totally audio based. You ask a question and it SPEAKS the answer.

    I give amazon a lot of credit for pushing the envelope. The phone was a dud but they keep moving forward. I imagine the capabilities of echo will only get better as time goes on. I myself think it’s a great idea and as a happy prime member, $100 seems like a great deal for what could turn out to be the start of something big. I can see lots of uses for this thing. Sure some of it would be novelty but I imagine it could be very useful.

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