Amazon has unleashed a new surprise on consumers that has everyone talking. It’s called Amazon Echo, and it’s essentially a speaker that can talk back to you.
Here’s what we know: Amazon released a new video to introduce Echo. The video is an unboxing of the product, and shows a family discovering the speaker as the consumer watches on.
Instead of relying on a boring demo video, Amazon keeps it simple and lets Echo, whose name is Alexa, speak for herself.
“I can play music, answer questions, get the news, weather, create to do lists, edits shopping lists and much more.”
— Businessweek (@BW) November 6, 2014
In the video she plays music, tells time, and gathers facts, which she updates from the iCloud system.
In a way, she kind of reminds us of Rosie from The Jetsons, if Rosie was actually stationary. Amazon Echo, or Alexa as the family in the video calls her, can be placed anywhere in a home, and can detect voices at different volumes in a room, so there’s no learning curve in terms of raising your voice or overly pronouncing words.
It looks like Alexa will understand anything, which means this might be the last time you hear, “I didn’t quite get that…”
According to The Verge, who spoke with Amazon, Echo will be able to ship “in the coming weeks,” and so far it’s an invite-only process. Right now Amazon Echo is $199 but extends a super deal to its prime members for $99.
“Amazon says the black, cylindrical speaker is always connected to the cloud and will provide information, music, news, weather, and more whenever you ask for it.”
According to the product page, “These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction.”
As for its music catalog, it grabs from Amazon Prime, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Plus. Additionally Bluetooth is integrated so it will pick up Spotify, Pandora, and other apps, so it seems like a consumer will have plenty of options to choose from.
Here’s what some people are saying about Amazon Echo.
I’ll be interested in Amazon Echo when it is purely open source and all processing happens on the device. http://t.co/GmvCQaNiss
— Ryan X. Charles (@ryanxcharles) November 6, 2014
The Amazon Echo looks exactly like the type of tech device I don’t at all need but will buy anyway.
— Bryan Wiedey (@pastapadre) November 6, 2014
Aw yeah amazon echo in the house pic.twitter.com/YwwbBIcSEm
— Todd Haselton (@robotodd) November 6, 2014
Some people are skeptical about this product. Is a virtual assistant a good idea? Is this one step closer to the NSA knowing our darkest secrets? Sound off.
[Image via Amazon]