Amazon Echos are shipping: Estimated Date of Delivery is November 20th

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”):

Amazon reinvents…life? Amazon Echo

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

Amazon Kindle forum thread (at AmazonSmile*)

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 echo-developers@amazon.com
  • 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:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=amazon+echo&_sop=15

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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ndBKpujbk

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:

___
Hello Bufo,

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.

Best regards,

Eric
http://www.amazon.com
=============================

Update:

Amazon Echo Help (at AmazonSmile*)

 

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.

63 Responses to “Amazon Echos are shipping: Estimated Date of Delivery is November 20th”

  1. andgee Says:

    My Echo is on the way; arriving 20 November. Feeling excited! andgee

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, andgee!

      Yay! You are the second one I know…I’d be confident that you are, at least, in the first wave.🙂

  2. Harold Delk Says:

    No notification here yet either. We’re down in Florida on a camping trip and keep checking email hoping to get Echoed. I may carry it in the RV if I like it enough. If nothing else I’d be the most connected guy in the woods.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      We’ll see what happens. They aren’t necessarily doing everybody who is going to qualify all at once…there may be waves.

  3. Alison Says:

    I have no email saying I am getting one and I am completely jealous!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alison!

      It could still happen. For now, I’m just feeling happy for the folks who are getting them.

  4. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Any fans of “Person of Interest?” Has anyone ever wondered if Echo is part of Samaritan, Decima, or Northern Lights? <|:)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I watched a couple of episodes, but didn’t get hooked on it.

      Glad you enjoy the show, though!

    • Edward Boyhan Says:

      I’m into it, but I missed a season, I think :grin. Just watched an episode tonight; first time in a long time. What happened to the library? How’d they end up in an IRT tunnel?

      I assume my echo will be a pod off the machine — I’ll let you know if phone booths start calling me😀

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        It’s interesting what our cultural touchpoints are for non-anthropomorphic talking computers. Person of Interest doesn’t come to me quickly (does that computer talk? I don’t remember that from the episode I saw), but certainly: the computer on Star Trek; KITT from Knight Rider; HAL 9000; SID from the British series UFO; Holly from Red Dwarf (who did have a human face…actually, two at different points in the series); J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just a Rather Very Intelligent System) from Iron Man…gee, I guess I could keep going for a while!

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        It’s a whole different world from last year. They’ve had to go underground because a more sinister machine went online. In last week’s episode, there was a plan to put a tablet in the hands of every elementary student for the purpose of having the sinister machine’s eyes in more homes!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Maybe I’ll have to try it again. Should I watch from the beginning (that’s my normal course)?

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        You don’t really need to start at the beginning because the first few seasons were mainly about building the team and helping individuals whose number was coughed up by “the machine.” However, if you don’t watch from the start, you don’t get all of the back story about the development of the machine. I just think it got better once they ended the whole HR story line and shifted over to a more dystopian universe where we learn that there is another side to the machine that is scarier and that there is another group building another, similar machine, whose purpose is to monitor and control us all. Which is how a thread about a TV series ended up in an article about a device in our home that appears to be helping us, but could concern those of us who read too much dystopian fiction. Yes, I had that poster, the one that said, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Great! If I can stream one, I’ll try a later episode and see.

        My understanding is that “paranoid” quotation comes from Henry Kissinger, although the only attributed version I’ve seen is a bit different.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I actually would start at the beginning because the explanations of the back story are really quite vague/obscure — it comes in bits and pieces with lots of flashbacks within the story line.

        Based on latest episode I saw, HR may be gone, but Elias is still around. I think the “numbers come up” thing will still play out, but that the “bad” machine, and that half oriental old guy with the odd accent (British?) will kind of be the back story to the back story???

        We’re get a bit far afield here😀 unless Alexa is shilling for one of the machines :grin.

  5. Phink Says:

    Nothing! Uuuugggghhhhhh. I even checked my spam folder just to make sure it did not slip into there. All kinds of offers there for pills, making thousands of dollars a day, and even free college courses. But, nothing about an echo. Dagnubit.

  6. Kerry Montgomery Says:

    When I accepted the invitation, I thought it could be my Christmas present from da hubby. Last night we decided (for financial reasons) we will only buy for the kids this year. Then I got the email today to order mine. Ugh! I really, really wanted the Echo.😥

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kerry!

      Maybe it’s not a gift…it’s just a purchase that happens to be around this time of year?

      Gee, if they’d let you reassign it, I’d be interested.😉

  7. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I also got my invite; ordered it right away — it’s coming on Thursday (the 20th).

    • Edward Boyhan Says:

      maybe Alexa’ll be able to talk to Cortana — they must be lonely — all by themselves in their machines :grin. Oh and Siri’s not invited to the party — sorry😦

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        There are some interesting things on the web with computers talking to each other…the conversations don’t tend to be very creative, since AI voices are much more likely to be reactive than to initiate a conversation stream.

        Here’s an interesting one with two “chatbots”:

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Terrific! I’ll be very interested in your educated assessment.

  8. Kerry Montgomery Says:

    The Echo qualifies for 6 month free financing on my Amazon card! So I got to order it after all! Yippie!!!! So excited! 😀

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kerry!

      That’s great! Enjoy! If you feel like writing something about it here, I’d appreciate it.

  9. David Says:

    I had 6 prime members request invites, including myself. Nothing yet. Makes me wonder how they are doing this. Thought for sure I would snag 1 out of 6.

    Makes me a little perturbed to see them up on Ebay. Send the invites to people who are actually going to use them😛

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, David!

      Well, six is a pretty small sample.🙂 If 100,000 people requested them, and 90,000 got them, it could still be that it wasn’t any of your six. I think those numbers are unlikely, by the way. My intuition is that a smaller percentage got them…but I did add a poll to the post to see if we can get some idea from the small sample (but not as small) of my readers.

      Edited to add: as to the eBay part…well, I wasn’t asked anything about my intended disposition when I asked for an invitation.🙂 It wouldn’t be kind of hard to tell…and it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody bought it really intending to keep it, and then was seduced by an offer worth a lot more than it would be at the full price of about $200.

  10. D. knight Says:

    Thought you’d like to see this 10 minute review of the Echo on YouTube:

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, D.!

      Excellent! Impressive capabilities, and pretty well demonstrated. I’ve added the link into the post and credited you.

  11. elaine jordan Says:

    Interesting.I just decided to order one.when I went to check out.I got.$100 credit!!!!!!
    Never got an invite though
    Supposed to be here early as next week, or as late as December 12…..just thought I would try

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, elaine!

      Tell me more about the process you used to order it. When I go to Amazon.com, and get to the Echo page, I’m not given the option to order one. When I click on the product, I’m taken to a page that explains about needing an invitation.

      If you are able to do it, it’s possible you were selected.

      The $100 credit makes sense if you are a Prime member: selected Prime members are getting $100 off right now.

      • Elaine Says:

        Ok, I signed in, of course, and went to the product page and it had changed so that I could add to my cart, it showed up as $199, all the way until.the very last page when you place you order, where it showed the shipping and taxes, that is where I noticed the $100 credit
        It was very slight change on the product page
        It was not the info page
        I actually went to the search bar and typed echo, of course, lots came up, but I chose the Amazon.echo
        Good luck!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Elaine!

        Well, this is bizarre.

        I’ve tried all kinds of things, and can’t get to any way to buy an Echo at this point. I’ve tried logging in and out, deleting cookies, different browsers: everything I reach says it’s by invitation only, which is what Amazon told me.

        I may contact Amazon help directly to see what they can tell me.

        I appreciate your description!

      • Elaine Says:

        I do not have a spam folder for my Amazon email account email address that I know of…..I hope it works out for you by to. It would be kind of weird if you didn’t get one, I get a lot of my info from you.hints and tricks and stuff I didn’t realize
        Where I live, it is pretty well one big area and I just found out I have an illness that is supposed to get progressively worse so I am hoping this works out to help me in the future

      • Elaine Says:

        Oh I am a prime member too btw

    • Tom Says:

      I’m guessing you could possibly have an invite in your bulk or junk email? In my case just going to the Echo page on Amazon (not clicking on email link) allowed me to order. FedEx bringing mine this afternoon.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        Nope, no invite…checked Spam and pretty much everywhere I could.

        I got a special number to contact Echo, and they confirmed: you should only see the Buy button if you got an invitation. However, they also said that invitations are still going out (they didn’t send them all at once), so hope is still there.🙂

  12. Zebras Says:

    I am impressed by the quality of the sound of the music considering its being taped by a device and replayed on my kindle fire.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Agreed. Compare the sound of the music to the sound of the customer’s voice: the quality seems very good.

  13. Tania Marshall Says:

    I got an invite. When I saw the Echo video, I WANTED it. Since then, I’ve discovered my Android phone with voice commanded Google does a lot of the same things and is more portable. We have no communal room in my house. I pretty much live in my study/craft room equipped with smart TV, desktop computer with Bose speakers and 2 of my Kindles; the Keyboard and 8.9 Fire HD. The Echo seems like overkill in the Mom Cave. I’m still mulling it over because the price is so reduced, but I will probably pass.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tania!

      I think for a lot of people, there is quite a bit of friction between them and asking a question of their SmartPhones…when they are at home. That’s one of the attractions here. The ability to just play music from Prime (even music you don’t own) also seems like a plus.

      It’s not going to be for everybody, and it sounds like it might not fit your situation. I would say that it makes sense to default to not buying it…you’ll hear more about it later.

      I’d be careful about being tempted by a discounted price. I think you should always look at the price in isolation, not as compared to something you haven’t done.🙂

    • Tania Marshall Says:

      I caved. It arrives Tues, the 25th.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tania!
        🙂

        My readers and I would appreciate knowing what you think of it!

  14. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Mine came today — I’ve unpacked it (packaging really first rate :grin). I’ve placed it in my MBR — it’s quite heavy — it is clearly going to be a great bluetooth speaker (main reason I got it).

    I haven’t had time to set it up yet — maybe tomorrow.

  15. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I just came across this tech journalist’s review of the Echo: “A Perfect 10”
    http://www.zdnet.com/amazon-echo-review-a-perfect-10-7000035980/?s_cid=e539&ttag=e539&ftag=TRE17cfd61

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      There aren’t many reviews out there: they aren’t sending out review copies, and there just aren’t that many units in customers’ hands, I think.

      What I have seen has been good, though.

  16. Elaine Says:

    Just got a text saying echo is at my post office!!!!!

  17. Becky from Iowa Says:

    Just got mine! I have been an Amazon customer almost since Day One, and they know I am a sucker for gadgets.

  18. Alison Says:

    I just got my invite! Ordering today.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alison!

      Yay! If you get a chance to let us know what you think, that would be appreciated.

  19. Alison Says:

    Well, we have had our Echo since Friday. The kids (ages 10-16) have enjoyed it immensely. They have used it for music mainly. We spent time asking it questions and it could answer quite a few things. What is couldn’t answer: How many teams are in the National Football League (this greatly disappointed my football loving son). It also could do addition in math, but couldn’t seem to understand multiplication questions. It did tell us it would add our questions to bing search.
    Occasionally it would tell us it didn’t understand our question when we weren’t talking to it. It must have thought we said Alexa. My kids, of course, think they need to yell everything at it.
    The most fun I had was secretly using the app from upstairs to turn on random music while the kids were downstairs. They kept yelling “Alexa Stop!” and then arguing with each other to stop turning on the music. My husband and I were dying! They came upstairs to tell us Alexa was crazy. LOL
    It looks like for us this will mostly be used as a music speaker, but I love the ability to ask it other things and make a grocery list, etc.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alison!

      I appreciate that field report!

      Sounds like you are having fun, and don’t worry…Alexa is getting more knowledgeable every day. It will know the answer to the football question soon, I’m sure. If Alexa doesn’t get something, my understanding is that you can say, “Alexa, that was wrong” to mark the spot for review by the engineers.

  20. Alison Says:

    So, I am wondering if anyone else who has purchased the echo has found that the app is draining their phone battery. I put the app on my Galaxy S5 and am noticing that I can’t keep my phone charged. I don’t know if it is a coincidence or an actual issue. Any thoughts?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alison!

      I haven’t heard that yet, but I’ll ask around and let you know.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        I put the question out there…I haven’t heard from anybody else reporting that issue yet. As you suggested, could be a coincidence.

        Do you have a battery monitoring app on your phone? That would tell you.

    • Martin Vickers Says:

      I tried putting it on my phone, and the same thing happened. I removed the app, and the battery draining stopped instantly.

  21. mkitt71 Says:

    Still no invite for me.😦 As a daily buyer of products on Amazon (over 200 orders this year) and a day 1 requester I would have assumed I would have an invite by now. Lame. So much for being a Christmas present for the family.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, mkitt71!

      Your certainly not alone…I haven’t gotten an invitation, either. I would guess it’s the majority of people who haven’t.

      I think your assumption may have been based on an incorrect premise that being able to get the product before it’s released is a reward based on past good behavior. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that, and it seems logical to me that they are trying to get a mix of people during this pre-release development phase. I don’t know if you’ve read the other things I’ve written about it, but I assume that diversity (of geography, of buying habits) is part of the research criteria.

      Fortunately, if it was going to be a Christmas present, it’s my turn to assume something.😉 You probably didn’t tell your family that they were going to get one, which is a good thing: it would have been like promising a winning lottery ticket, something which was out of your control.

      On the other hand, there is still quite a bit of time before Christmas. Since you requested an invitation, I assume you are a Prime member…we are far away from two shipping days before Christmas, especially since I seem to regularly get things on Sundays now.

      It’s still possible you’ll be able to get one (either through invitation or release of the product) by December 25th…although, naturally, I wouldn’t make plans based on that.

      Personally, I’m happy for the folks (especially my readers) who have gotten one, and their feedback and experience with it will make it a better (and possibly more successful) product when it is released.

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