Amazon Echo on general sale for $179 - futuristic or creepy as hell?

This voice controlled wireless speaker can control your smart home gadgets
Amazon Echo goes on sale

You either want a gadget eavesdropping on your conversations or you don't.

Amazon Echo is a wireless speaker which you can control through voice commands by saying "Alexa" or "Hey, Alexa". Skip tracks, change volume, play songs. It's just gone on general sale in the US for $179, to ship on 14 July, after a limited $99 release for Prime users. And it's so much more than a speaker you can talk to.

Read this: The smart home of the future

The Echo can connect to companion apps for iOS, Android and Amazon's own Fire OS. You can hook it up to Google Calendar to check events, Audible for listening to audio books and once it's connected to your browser, you can even order products from Amazon through voice.

Like any voice assistant worth their salt, Alexa can be set to read out news, weather, sports and traffic info in the mornings. And the Echo can also become part of your smart home - paired with Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue, it allows you to control smart bulbs and appliances around your house via voice controls.

That's something smartwatches are hoping to provide but a simple and seamless way of controlling our connected home is still up for grabs.

Early reviews

The Echo is a pretty polarising device. Back in December, Gizmodo said: "It's not a fabulous speaker, and as a voice-controlled assistant, your phone's more powerful."

Joe Brown at Re/code on the other hand goes Full Twombly and forgives any first-gen niggles: "Am I still in technolust? Let's say we're friends with benefits. Alexa has her flaws and limitations, but we talk every day. I'm glad she's in my life."

As for the voice recognition and accuracy, this has been enhanced since late last year and Amazon says that the more you use the device, the better it will become at recognising speech patterns. Look out for an Amazon Echo review on Wareable soon.

Would you want an Amazon Echo in your home? Let us know if you think it's the future or just plain creepy on the new Wareable Forum.

1 Comment

  • Mfarmer42 says:

    I love mine.  I use it everyday.  I walk in the kitchen and tell Alexa to play a radio station and she starts playing it. I listen while I cook diner.  I ask it for the weather everyday while feeding the cats before walking out the door. 

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