The strange device that's probably more than it seems
Everyone was quite surprised when Amazon announced its new product Echo and some were left rather confused as they couldn’t figure out what exactly this new weird looking product was for. Apparently, the Amazon Echo is part speaker, part voice-activated personal assistant for the home and what led to all the confusion was Amazon’s inability to deliver the product details to the potential customers. We don’t know why they had been so shy about disclosing important product information and there was a complete lack of any launch date or strategy but we still managed to figure out some details.
So basically, just like we talk to the Siri, we can talk into this cylinder shaped gadget and give it instructions such as to read the news out loud, set alarms, play music, reference Wikipedia, remember shopping lists and even tell jokes. The product is 9 inches in height and you have to refer to it as ‘Alexa’ to have it respond to your requests. We still aren’t sure if we would be able to reprogram another name onto it or not.
We might be tempted to ask ‘Alexa’ what’s it hiding inside but perhaps we are already there. We know one thing for sure that Amazon hasn’t taken up the business to wake us up every day or read us news aloud. There is only one thing which Amazon is interested in and that’s shopping. It is simply a business which sells us things. So coupled with smart home automation — think voice-control to control the lights and temperature — Echo could very much be the future, but not in its current form.
Amazon doesn’t have a very bad history when it comes to hardware and so it won’t be disappointing o hold high hopes for the Echo. First it was the Kindle and this time they are trying out something completely different and it holds a lot of potential if it is done in the right manner. Voice-command shopping could simply be the future with Echo says Steve Beck of management consultancy firm cg42.
He also says "Echo could take Amazon from one-click purchase to no-click purchase, creating the ultimate in-home impulse purchase engine — all done with voice commands. While it only adds things to a shopping list today, it's one cloud-based software upgrade away from 'Alexa, order me that thing I just decided I want' — and boom, your credit card is charged and the package is on its way.”
When it comes to tangible products and sensors in the home, Google and Apple have already had their takes in this department then what sets apart the move from Amazon? James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, says that the microphone is going to make all the difference. "Amazon is the first to put a persistent microphone interface in your home, a listening and learning service that is ready to hear your every command," McQuivey said. "Sure, it doubles as a connected speaker and some people will end up buying it for that, but the Echo will only achieve its real purpose when you start asking it questions, having it complete tasks for you — especially shopping tasks — just the way Apple hopes its users will interact with Apple Watch."
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