According to the recent reports revealed, Amazon announced Echo, a voice-driven home assistant on Thursday. It’s a tube-shaped device, which is especially designed to work as a voice-driven home assistant. The price of the device is $199 and presently requires an invite to buy. The Amazon Echo is equipped with 7 microphones, a downward-facing array of speakers, and a constant connection to the cloud so that it can listen to and respond to users’ spoken questions and requests.
If you see the device’s video demonstration, it shows a lively suburban mom-dad-and-two-kids family. The actors in the video use the Echo to do things like turn on music, tell the time, spell words, play morning news clips from NPR, set a timer, or add items to a shopping list — in essence, the kinds of commands users of Apple’s Siri are already familiar with.
Moreover, users need to to say a ‘trigger’ word to enable Amazon Echo’s listening. As if to commence privacy concerns, the ad persisted that the Echo only starts listening and recording audio when it hears that word (word ‘Alexa’ is used in the ad, however the product description didn’t clarify whether users can pick their own trigger word or not; for now, we hope nobody in your family is named Alexa). Although the advertisement clearly showed that the always-on Echo device have the ability to hear user at any volume level. The ad also demonstrated that the Echo being moved and plugged into many different rooms in the actors’ home, as if to show that users need to be close to the Echo for maximum effectiveness.
Echo will need a Bluetooth connection to a compatible media device for music playback. However, it’s not obvious in the ad whether it’s compulsory to connect through the official Amazon Echo app that will launch on Amazon Fire OS and Android. The official page of the device also mentioned the compatibility with the desktop and iOS Web browser interface, although it doesn’t obvious whether it will limit the ways that users interact with it.
With the launch of latest Fire devices having voice-search utility, Amazon stimulated its push into personal-assistant territory. Though, the Echo device launch doesn’t hint at an impartial app that smartphone and tablet users might use in place of this always-on, wall-plugged device. We have reached out to Amazon about product availability, and looking forward to test everything else advertised about the Amazon Echo, including its ability to hear the words at almost any volume in a nearby environs, its response speed, and its intelligence.