Amazon Echo: on general sale on January 10?

Amazon Echo: on general sale on January 10?

I have been seeing that more invitations have been going out for the Amazon Echo, Amazon’s ambient computing device. Currently, that is the only way to get one: you have to be a Prime member and request an invitation and then receive one. Well, technically, the buy button may become available for you a day or so before you receive the invitation, but an invitation needs to be at least in the works for you.

That has been confusing for some people who could see a “get it by” date, but could not actually order it.

Today, when I went to check, instead of saying that you could get it by a specific date, it said it would be in stock on January 10, 2015.

Since the listing is different, that suggests that there may be an actual change. It could go on general sale on January 10. I was seeing that when I was not logged in to Amazon, by the way.

I think this may be one of the big stories of 2015, so I am excited to see the possibility that it is going to go on sale. No invitation for me yet…I suspect that tech writers may be the last people to get invitations, so the device is as mature as possible before we see it.πŸ™‚

This post by Bufo calvin originally appeared in the I love my kindle blog

33 Responses to “Amazon Echo: on general sale on January 10?”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    Sent you a message earlier with a screenshot; mine arrives on the 14th. Received the invite this morning. Shall I ask Alexa to send you one?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      I saw that: congratulations!

      Gee, I wonder if Alexa could even recognize or pronounce my name.πŸ˜‰ It’s pronounced, “BOO-foh”, by the way.

      Sure, you could ask…that would get it into the hive mind, at least.πŸ™‚

  2. Joan huston Says:

    I got mine the day before Christmas and the whole family including company and a great time asking her questions and playing music. It works pretty good and understood most the people. We were impressed.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joan!

      Great to hear! I know you can “train” the Echo, but from what I’m hearing, it works pretty well for most people without the training.

  3. Harold Delk Says:

    I’m wondering that as the Echo matures and they add features whether it will be able to read books from your Kindle library or those from Audible. I’m an Audible user and use my old 1st. generation Fire in the kitchen when I’m cooking to read lectures (mostly from Great Courses) aloud. Have also tried some books, but find them hard to follow as I work. I have learned quite a bit from listening to some of the greats discussing language origins, cultural differences, astronomy, and bits of this and that as I chop and mix. I’ve tried The Grateful Dead to cook to, but find that dancing around the kitchen with sharp knives to be somewhat dangerous.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      I’ve heard from people that pairing the Echo with a tablet and using Audible works…but interestingly, I’ve heard mixed results on using text-to-speech through Bluetooth on the Echo: works for some people, not others.

  4. Erwin Says:

    Got my invitation today. Hooray!

  5. Joe Bowers Says:

    Hi, B.C.,
    Long time, no comment! I got an invitation this morning, e-mail said the expected arrival date would be visible after placing it in my cart. When I did that, it showed January 14, as others have said. I just love all these toys.
    While I’m here, allow me to “echo” the comments of several others recently and thank you for your help and information on your blog. You do a real service for us Kindle and Fire users. Have a happy 2015, and many more to follow!
    Peace,
    Joe

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joe!

      “Hey, Joe…what do you know?” “I just got back from a vaudeville show.”

      Not sure where I know that from…I Love Lucy?

      Good to hear from you! I’m glad you are getting one…I’ll be interested in your opinion on it.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  6. D. Knight Says:

    I got my invitation today and just ordered it. It said it won’t be in stock until Jan 12 and my expected delivery date is Jan 15th. I’m very excited about this.

    • D. Knight Says:

      Mine arrived yesterday, and I took it to my office today. Everybody was impressed.

      I just asked: “Alexa, Please send Bufo Calvin an invitation to buy an Amazon Echo”–she didn’t respond, so I guess she’s thinking about it.

      Anything else you want me to ask her? (I guess I should say it, but with an obviously feminine voice, it’s hard to.)

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, D.!

        I did get my invitation, so perhaps Alexa is stoically not responding, a la Doc Savage.πŸ˜‰

        One thing I haven’t seen tested…can you do a follow on question? For example, could you ask who starred in The Mask, and getting Jim Carrey, could you then ask, “How tall is he?” In other words, does it retain an answer and then be able to get additional questions about that person?

      • Harold Delk Says:

        Just tried the “How Tall is he… ” question as a follow on. Total silence. Alexa does not work overtime. She has been very cantankerous today; “sorry I cannot connect to wireless I’ll keep trying” and randomly dropping signal when other devices are fine. Tomorrow I’ll reset everything and see if it helps.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Harold!

        I appreciate you testing it! Yes, you would have to say, “Alexa, how tall is he?” Your Echo should only listen following the wake word. You could try, “Alexa, who is President of the United States and how tall is he?” That might work.

        You are right, I should have thought of the fact that “starred” is a bit subjective…those kind of questions are going to be too difficult for the Echo.

      • D. Knight Says:

        I asked “Who is the President of the United States”, then “How old is he?” and Alexa could not answer the second question, but then could answer “How old is Barack Obama?”. (I wanted to use a question with a definite single answer–the “who starred in” questions I’ve asked so far have given a rather long list of the cast.)

  7. browstip Says:

    I have yet to figure out why I would want the Echo. Maybe i could use it to hang my headphones on?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, browstip!

      I suppose you could, although that might interfere with the microphones’ ability to hear you.πŸ˜‰

      I think you suggestion here is that it serves the same purpose as headphones you already own, and it’s quite different from that.

      First, I’ll assume your headphones are wireless…otherwise, that one element of their functioning would be clear.

      The Echo really has two main functions.

      One is as a music player. That doesn’t just mean a Bluetooth speaker playing what is on your phone or tablet. It includes playing music from Prime (the only people who have it at this point are Prime members), even if you don’t own it.

      The second is the “ambient computing” part. You ask it for information (or jokes, or just engage it in some sorts of conversation), and it hears you and replies. The only thing you need to do is get its attention by saying a “wake up word” (Alexa or Amazon are the current choices). It should feel pretty effortless and just part of the environment (that’s the “ambient” part). Of course, there is some effort in phrasing things properly, but they are working on that. I doubt it would understand “drop a platter” as slang for playing music.πŸ˜‰

      That, I think, is the part that will make it part of many people’s lives. That will be particularly true as it begins to be able to control more things, like home automation and the Fire TV.

      I’ve imagined uses for it several times a day as I prepare myself for when they might let me buy one.πŸ˜‰

      For example, the weather forecast came up yesterday…my Significant Other asked, and I got my phone (this was at home…it wasn’t right with me), swiped down, tapped my weather alert, swiped over…that could all have been answered from my SO’s original question, hands free.

      We were tracking our adult kid’s flight from the East Coast to the West Coast. In the future, we could simply ask, “Alexa, what’s the flight status of XYZ airline flight 123?” Again, just in the room where we are already, no prep, no getting another device.

      You can already have it set alarms, timers, and add things to a shopping list. You look in the fridge, find out you are low on, oh, apples, and just say, “Alexa, add apples to my shopping list”. That item is then added to a list in the app on your phone.

      We’ll see a lot more uses evolve over the next year, and after that.

      Doesn’t mean you would want it, of course, but many people will…

      • Harold Delk Says:

        I expect to have mine in about two weeks so am formulating some experiments I’d like to try. The shopping list intrigues me a bit and sounds useful. We currently use an app called “Buy Me a Pie” which works very well on iOS, OSX, and Android … when either my wife or I are at the store the other can add something to the list and it synchs to the other devices quickly. Add lemons and lemons magically come home. What I’d hope for is integration from Echo and BMAP which I hope I can develop a recipe for in IFTT (If this then that) so that we can ask Alexa to add to the shopping list and it would synch the items to our phones (she’s iPhone, I’m Android) while we are at a store or in transit. BMAP is one of the most useful apps we’ve ever used to simplify our grocery buying lives and is very simple to use. So we’re hoping Echo will eventually work with it. I’m expecting app developers to begin coding efforts to support the new device if it becomes popular and be able to port or integrate existing apps into the Echo infrastructure.

        I’m thinking we’re on the cutting edge of a big change in technology and our lives. Seems like Amazon does a bit more than sell books; they open cracks to the future. Leonard Cohen said it best, “There is a crack in everything.That’s how the light gets in.”

  8. browstip Says:

    Do you have to carry it around? I see probably needs a watch band.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, browstip!

      No need to carry it around…and it would be awfully big for a watchband. One of the main features is its ability to hear you from anywhere in a room…it has a special array of microphones. There is also a remote that can be used to communicate with it when you are farther away, and apps for phones and such.

      At this point, it only works when plugged into power…so generally, carrying it around is not going to be a good strategy.πŸ˜‰

  9. Edward Boyhan Says:

    several tech journalists that I follow on Twitter reported that they had just received invitations — some wondering whether to bite or not — I’ve been advising one and all to go for it! (:grin)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Nothing for me, yet…no Buy button on the website or invitation.

      You are giving me more hope, though!πŸ™‚

  10. Tom Semple Says:

    Mine will arrive Jan 14 as with others here. I requested an invite only about a week or so ago. I took this as evidence that they are continuing beta for at least awhile, rather than they are getting ready for general release soon. But we’ll see.

    One issue with audio vs. TTS will be the same as with headsets generally: you cannot use the headset controls to control playback of TTS, due to the way it is implemented by the Kindle app. I have sent feedback suggesting to add that capability. It would be cool if you could control a Bluetooth connected fire from echo, though, so you could say ‘read war and peace’ etc. (rather than hosting tts on server as some suggest).

    And yes, audiobook streaming (with or without echo).

  11. Matt S. Says:

    I never got an invite though I requested one. Today the purchase button suddenly became available by going to the amazon.com/echo website. It still gave me $100 off during the checkout. Maybe I got an invite and just missed it? in any case, another reason why I’m grateful to be a prime member.Deliver is on the 14th I think.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Matt!

      Congratulations!

      The way it has reportedly been working is that the “Buy” button becomes available a day or two before the invitation arrives. My guess is that you’ll see the invite soon.

      Nothing for me yet…no active Buy button or invitation, but I’m guessing that a lot are going out this weekend, so I’m still hoping.πŸ™‚

  12. Doug A. Says:

    They just sent me an invitation an hour ago so you might still be in the running to get one. They are still giving the $100 Prime discount.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Doug!

      I just checked again, nothing for me yet. I am hanging in thereπŸ™‚

      • Harold Delk Says:

        Just received shipping notice; arrives Tuesday… of course I’ll be at a medical appointment when it arrives. I should cancel; who needs health when one can have a new tech toy.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Harold!

        Gee, maybe Alexa can diagnose and/or treat you instead.πŸ™‚

      • Harold Delk Says:

        Alexa, please fix my back pain! Oh, and while I have your attention… please send Bufo an Echo. Thank you, Alexa. Carry On!

  13. zzz2b2 Says:

    Just got a confirmation mail 2 months after ordering and the ship date is May 2015 !

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, zzz2b2!

      I ordered mine just a couple of days ago…and May 27th is given as the earliest for me, with July 2nd being the later end.πŸ™‚ Might come earlier, of course…that happens sometimes. I suspect rather than shipping they’ve given you an estimated delivery date: that’s how it usually is with me.

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