Echo goes on public sale: order yours now!
I expect this could sell out, so I’m going to post this and then update it.
Right in line with what I’ve expected, the
Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is now available for general pre-order! Update shortly, but if you want one as soon as possible, I’d pre-order right now.
Update: Oh, I’ve had somebody ask me what the Echo is. 🙂 It’s Amazon’s “ambient computing” device. The shorthand for most people is that it is “Siri for your house”, but it’s different from that. It is a Bluetooth speaker, but you can talk to it, and it generally understands you and can do some things you ask. It can answer questions, it can put things on a shopping list, it can read you events from your Google calendar, it can give you the news…many things.
Here are my
Update: okay, here is the
Some things that stand out to me about this general public launch:
- The price is $179.99, lower than the expected $199…unless you want the voice remote, which was included for people like me who were Prime members and got it early by invitation for $99. I do use the remote, in part because when the Echo is at top volume playing music, it’s hard for it to hear me. Using the remote (which has voice input) makes it work just fine. The remote (Voice Remote for Amazon Echo ((at AmazonSmile*)) is $29.99, making the price actually higher than predicted for what we got ($209.98 versus $199.00), but lower for the base device. You don’t need the remote, but it’s nice to have. My guess is that there will be a lot of those sold as gifts. Note that each Echo only works with one remote at a time
- The “in stock” date is July 14th…but again, my guess is that will only be true for the very earliest orders. We waited weeks (or more…months in my case) to get it on the invitation only pre-release orders. I’m guessing that they can’t make them very quickly
- No discount for Prime members
- No new features announced with the release, although they do say, “…developers have been using a private beta of a free SDK to build new capabilities and skills for Alexa, which will start rolling out later this year.” An SDK is a “software development kit”. This should lead to some very interesting third party applications, perhaps even for major companies
- I wasn’t quoted in the press release (never have been…I know some readers guess I have a very close relationship with Amazon, but outside of sending me press releases and some connections I have as a Kindle Forum Pro, I don’t really have a special relationship. Despite ILMK being one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the USA Kindle store for more than five years, I don’t get any special treatment. 🙂 That’s fine with me, by the way…it’s up to them. I’ve always sort of hoped that might send me some scoop kind of information or, yes, quote me, but I’m okay that they haven’t), but my review was considered one of the three most useful, so it appears on the product page right now. That probably won’t last: there are 18,274 reviews as I write this (with a 4.5 out 5 star rating), and those numbers will jump up. Still, I’m always happy when my writing helps people, and that appears to be the case
- Will we get Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (and Fire TV Stick ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)) support by July 14th? Still a possibility…
- No limit shown as to how many you can buy
- It appears to only be available to customers in the USA at this point. I would expect it to be available in other countries later this year (Canada, for sure). Part of that, I think, has to do with getting approval for it as an electronic device that receives/broadcasts. I always say that Amazon would happily sell products to the moon, if they could…they want to sell their products everywhere! However, they have to do it legally and in a way that makes sense. I have no doubt that I’ll see people from other countries saying they are being “discriminated against” or “not getting love” in the Kindle forums 😉
I have been saying that I think the Echo will be one of the biggest tech stories of the year…well, it has just really become a public story.
What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on his post.
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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! 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.