Amazon reinvents…life? Amazon Echo
The future isn’t here yet…but it has been announced. 😉
You can go to
and request an invitation to buy Amazon Echo.
What is Amazon Echo?
Well, it doesn’t fall into any neat, existing categories.
It’s…like KITT from Knight Rider, or J.A.R.V.I.S. from Iron Man, except it’s only the intellectual part.
You set up this…thing…in your house. It’s a cylinder, and it looks like a Bluetooth speaker, which it is, partly.
It’s really, really good at hearing you, and appears to be very good at understanding you.
You talk to it…and it talks back.
Watch the video on the page I’ve linked above.
It’s like…SIRI for your life.
So, that’s the obvious question: can’t you do this with your SmartPhone?
To some extent…but the video certainly makes it seem different, more effective, easier.
You use a wake-up word to get its attention (they use “Alexa” in the video, but you can clearly pick your own). It’s always on (it plugs in…doesn’t need to be recharged), and should hear you from anywhere in the room.
Think of that like Captain Kirk saying, “Computer”…but you don’t hear relays clicking before it responds like you do on the Enterprise. 😉
Then you talk to it.
You can ask it to play music.
You can ask it questions (like converting units, or how tall Mount Everest is), or have it tell you a joke.
You can also do this through an app on your SmartPhone which would connect to Echo.
Echo, then, connects to Amazon’s servers.
They’ve clearly made breakthroughs in commercial voice recognition…the voice search on my
You can also have it make a shopping list, or remind you about things.
This is a thing you didn’t know you needed…but do you need it?
Prime members (who get invited) will be able to get it for $99. The normal price will be $199.
The key thing to me will be how quickly apps are developed for it, and what they do.
If it can run your connected house, it could be a solid item.
Let’s be honest: I want one!
I’ve requested an invitation, and I’ll see if I can get one to review for you from Amazon regardless.
To me, this is as big a gamble as the original Kindle was in 2007.
If it flops, I think you’ll see the stock drop…
If it succeeds, it might be a case of “all is forgiven” (as long as losses get under control).
Amazon is becoming the world’s infrastructure, and that’s where I see their future.
Not so much in selling stuff and making a profit from customers buying it, but from selling access and services to other people making a profit (hopefully) from customers.
Will this connect to e-books in any way (hey, I’ve got to try to tie this in somehow!)?
I could see that.
- “Alexa, read Alice in Wonderland…start where we left off”.
- “Alexa, just what is a dormouse?”
- “Alexa, when is the next Stephen King book coming out?”
- “Alexa, what is on my book recommendation list? Okay, buy the third one.”
I don’t know that any of those capabilities will be there…I’m quite confident about the dormouse thing, not as sure about the others.
I’m going to be able to connect my
with a free app (it will work with Fire OS and Android, and desktop and iOS browsers…but maybe not all of them right away), which will greatly enhance its value. It doesn’t have good voice recognition now.
I don’t know why this feels so much to me like the 2007 Kindle launch…yes, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was down to $50 in two years after the launch. They’ll start it by attracting early adopters, and go from there.
One more thing: I’ll be interested to see what sort of hardware, in addition to software, is added to it. I could see some accessibility uses. Connecting to it with an app might give a superior real time translation feature. Using Firefly (the real world recognition feature) from the Fire Phone and connecting to it might really help. I could see, for example, a sign language translator.
What I’m picturing it as being is an easy language interface to a powerful computing system…and all those possibilities.
I might be overestimating its capabilities…we don’t really know yet.
What do you think? Does this sound like something you would like? How do you see using it? Will you wait for it to come down in price and to see how people respond? What will it mean for Amazon’s business…and for society?
Oh, let’s make this easy…I’ll do a short poll. If there isn’t an answer that fits what you want, you can add a comment.
Bonus deal: don’t forget about the
page! Deals right now include:
- The Kindle Daily Deal
- The Kindle Monthly Deal ($3.99 or lower each)
- Grant Morrison Vertigo sale
- Up to 50% off Spike and Angel (from Buffy) graphic novels
- 200 Kindle books for $1.99 each
- 30 Kindle books for $3 each
- 50 Kindle books for $2 each
- Kindle Countdown deals
- $8 or less Whispersync for Voice deals (e-book and audiobook)
Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.