Can a wireless speaker be more than a wireless speaker? What if it could also answer questions, tell you tomorrow’s schedule and let you know whether to take a coat to work?
What if it could help you dim the lights and turn up the heating while also sounding great when streaming Spotify?
What if you could do all of these things with no greater effort than your voice? Introducing the newly launched Amazon Echo – a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker designed entirely around your voice - here to simply make your home smarter.
All you have to do is ask…
What is Echo?
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, control your smart home, and more. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word ‘Alexa’ and Echo responds.
Fitted with 7 microphones, beam forming technology and noise cancellation, Amazon Echo hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even in noisy environments or while playing music.
We love the way it interacts with smart home gadgets like thermostats and light bulbs. But it’s also great as a standalone device, with loads of innovative features to make everyday life easier. Of course, as a speaker it sounds great too – with Spotify and Amazon Music built-in.
What can you do with Echo?
Here are some really useful things you can do with Echo and the Alexa voice assistant…
- Ask questions… Find out what else an actor has been in when watching TV, or ask questions raised by a documentary or a book
- Get tomorrow’s schedule… want to prep for tomorrow’s meetings? Simply ask Alexa for your calendar
- Get the football scores… missing the football to cook a Sunday roast? Get the latest scores by asking ‘Alexa, what is the score for the Liverpool game?’
- Know whether you need a brolly… Didn’t catch the weather on the TV? Just ask ‘Alexa, will it rain today?’
- Get the next train… Overslept and missed your train? Ask Alexa for the time of the next one
- Write a real-time shopping list… add items to your shopping list as you run out when cooking. ‘Alexa, put olive oil on my shopping list’
- Or to-do lists… ask it to remind you to pick up those train tickets, or put air in the car types.
How Echo makes the smart home simple
The smart home is all about making life easier – and Echo is designed to make it as simple as possible by working with other smart home tech.
The basic premise of the smart home is appliances and household items connect to the internet to give you advanced features and greater flexibility – think thermostats that learn your favourite temperature. But to control the gadgets you generally need to use an app on your phone. And this can mean several different apps for different things as not all smart home products are compatible.
Put the apps to one side and instead use your voice with Echo. It is designed to work with certain smart home tech for effortless control.
Use your voice to…
- Dim the lights from the sofa on a movie night with Echo and Philips Hue lightbulbs
- Turn up the heating on a chilly winter night with Echo and the Netatmo thermostat
- Boil the kettle for your morning tea with Echo and a WeMo switch
- Stream music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Spotify and TuneIn
Did you know? Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services such as iTunes from your phone or tablet
What about the music?
Don’t forget Echo is a speaker that can play music. The speaker is designed to fire sound in all directions (known as omni-directional) thanks to its cylindrical shape.
Spotify and Amazon Music are built-in, so you can play your favourite albums, artists, and playlists by simply asking Alexa. Ask Alexa to skip a track or turn up the volume – all with your voice. You can sync your phone using Bluetooth to play iTunes.
Echo is already available in the US, where reviewers and people who have bought it say good things.
Echo goes on sale on September 28. Pre-order Amazon Echo, here.
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