We haven’t exactly attained the future that “The Jetsons” would have had us believe that we would be living, but Amazon Echo could be helping to get us a few steps closer. The concept of a smart home is certainly nothing new, but this latest introduction from Amazon is putting a new spin on things. A futuristic blend of Bluetooth speaker and personal voice assistant, Echo boasts a lengthy list of features. Feel like setting the right ambience? Simply tell Echo to put on some mood music. Crunched for time and need to multitask? Have Echo read the news to you. Afraid you’re going to run out of milk? Ask Echo to add it to your shopping list. With the ability to create to-do lists, Echo can even ensure that items on the honey-do list are not missed.
How Amazon Echo Works
Housed in a 9.25-inch black canister with perforated speaker holes, Echo is fairly unassuming, but that look is completely deceptive, considering everything that Echo can do. Two buttons are used to control Echo. An action button is used for controlling timers and alarms, while a microphone button can be turned on or off to allow Echo to listen for voice commands. At the top of the canister is a light-up indicator ring. When it glows blue, you know that Echo is ready to do your bidding. When it’s muted, it’s red. To increase or decrease the volume, simply rotate the ring. Fairly simple for such a futuristic device.
If there are any drawbacks to Echo, it is that it isn’t portable. In order to work, Echo must be connected to power. It does come with a fairly generous 6-foot cord, but you still need to position Echo near an outlet, and if you want to use it another room, you will need to either move it or invest in more than one device.
The good news is that you do not have to worry about training Echo to recognize your voice, which has been a problem with many similar devices in the past. Simply download the app or log into your Amazon account, perform a few steps to get the Wi-Fi set up, and you’re done.
Ready at Your Command
If you've always dreamed of having your own personal genie, this is your chance. Except that her name isn’t Jeannie. It’s Alexa. Sound confusing? The device itself may be called Echo, but the personal assistant that “lives” inside the device is Alexa. Of course, you can change the name, if you like. Either way, the smart home device can do everything from letting you know what the weather will be to searching Wikipedia to looking up trivia.
If you’re ready to hit the Buy Now button and have Echo take control of your home, you may have to wait. Currently, only a few select people have been invited to buy. Furthermore, those who have been invited to buy will have to wait, as Echo does not ship until summer.