Amazon Echos are shipping: Estimated Date of Delivery is November 20th
I wrote previously about Amazon’s new class of device (which I call a “Listener”, as opposed to a “Speaker”):
Well, one of my regular readers and commenters, Karen Salmons, was kind enough to let me know that Amazon says Karen will have it November 20th!
I also requested an invitation, and haven’t heard anything yet.
Just to let you know, I also asked Amazon if they’d send me a review unit, and was told the only way to get it is to do the invitation process.
That in itself is intriguing. It suggests that they really consider this a beta (test)…that they want feedback from real customers before there are reviews of out there, presumably so they can tweak things. It might also be that its centralized learning process (it should learn things from everybody who uses it) could use some ramp up time before the reviews happen.
I’ll let you know if they e-mail me!
Have you heard from Amazon yet that your Echo is on the way?
Update: in this
one of the posters listed what they said were the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) from the e-mail they received.
Assuming those are accurate, there were a couple of interesting points:
- People only have seven days to accept the invitation. That suggests that there could be another, smaller wave seven days after the first one, and perhaps on after that
- The only current choices for the “wake word” are “Alexa” and “Amazon”, but they are working on adding more
- They are also going to be giving it a lot more abilities than it will have at first…they mentioned things like sports scores, traffic, and current affairs
- If you are a developer, you can contact Amazon at firstname.lastname@example.org
- One of things they suggested you do is ask Echo to “open the pod bay doors”…an interesting choice, even as a joke, because that is a reference to the iconically negative HAL 9000 in 2001
I’m holding out hope I can get one, maybe in the next wave. E-Bay has them listed from as low as $125 and up to about $500:
Update: I’m adding a poll, because I’m curious as to the percentage of people who got an invitation to buy an Amazon Echo who requested it. Please note: in this case, I’m not including negative answers. If you did request one, make that choice. If you didn’t request one, you can comment on the post, but there won’t be a choice for you in this poll. Similarly, if you got an invitation, make that choice. For me, I requested, but didn’t get one…so I’ll only make the first choice.
Update: thanks to regular reader and commenter D. Knight for this link to a ten minute customer demo of Alexa on YouTube!
It’s very impressive! It sounds quite natural, and actually picks up the sound of the customer’s (joe7377) voice really well…even when music is playing.
Update: I’ve just spoken with Amazon Echo Customer Service (which is different from regular Amazon Customer Service). The representative confirmed for me that you don’t get a Buy button if you don’t have an invitation. I suspect some people who have gone on the site and bought one didn’t realize that they had an invitation…it might have gone to a Spam folder, for example.
The rep even said that they personally didn’t have one…they had to go through the same process! 😉
However, I was also told that the invitations are still going out…they didn’t send them all at once. If you don’t have one yet (like me), hang in there!
Update: here is part of an email I received from Echo support:
This is Eric from Amazon Echo support. I’m so sorry for any confusion that the Invitation process has caused. We just started sending out Invitation emails on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. There is still a chance that you can be selected, so keep an eye on your email. I’ve submitted feedback on your account regarding your interest in the Amazon Echo.
If you’re selected to purchase Amazon Echo, you’ll receive an invitation e-mail. In the case you happen to delete the email by mistake, you will be able to add the Amazon Echo to your cart and complete the purchase.
We value all of our customers highly, and appreciate your questions about our new device.
Thanks for your interest in Amazon Echo.
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* 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.
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