Items tagged with echo

Who knew from the outset that Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and its underlying Alexa voice assistant would become this popular and have such a huge backing from the developer community? But as Amazon’s Alexa Skill Kit, Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Fund turn a year old, we’re seeing even more greatness added to the platform. Amazon today announced that it has enabled functionality that makes adding new Skills to your Echo incredibly simple. All you have to do is say “Alexa, enable NBC News” and you have instant access to the Skill. Or, you could say “Alexa, enable Beer Trivia” to help get your drinking game on. While it’s always been possible to navigate to the Alexa mobile app, search for a new... Read more...
Amazon is bringing Alexa, its voice powered digital assistant, to a wider audience, and this time it doesn't require the purchase of a smart speaker like Echo. Alexa is now available right inside your browser as part of a project called Echosim.io, which uses 3D JavaScript animations and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration. "Echosim.io lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use Echosim.io to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa’s unique UX," Amazon's Glenn Cameron... Read more...
It can be argued that Apple kicked off the digital assistant craze nearly five years ago when it baked Siri into iOS 5 and promoted it as a major feature of the iPhone 4S, but it's Amazon's Echo that everyone is gunning for. Google's taking a direct approach with Google Home, a Wi-Fi connected smart speaker, and apparently so will Apple, which also might open up Siri to app developers by releasing a software development kit (SDK).The latter is the more immediate step Apple is considering, according to a paywalled report by The Information, which cites "a person with direct knowledge of the effort." Developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri will have their chance following Apple's... Read more...
Digital assistants have proven handy companions for daily activities and reminders, and not just on smartphones, but more recently in standalone form as well. Amazon was first to really capitalize on the latter, and now Google's getting in the game—it's expected to announce a device similar to Echo called Google Home later today.Google Home will be able to answer questions and perform basic tasks. The full extent of its capabilities will be made known when Google makes an official announcement, but you can expect that it will be able to play music, look up the weather, search the web for answers to questions, and more. And whether right out of the gate or sometime down the road, Google would... Read more...
Pretty soon it might be easier and quicker to list the things Amazon's Echo speaker can't do rather than what it can. The list of tricks runs deep, from firing up Spotify to summoning an Uber driver. Heck, you can have Echo order a pizza if you're craving Domino's. If all that weren't enough, a new app created by the Innovation & Digital Health Acclerator (IDHA) team at Boston Children's Hospital gives Echo the ability to answer questions about your child's health. Called "KidsMD," the new app isn't just for Echo, but for any device powered by Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, including Amazon's Echo Dot and Tap speakers, and Fire TV. Devices enabled with Alexa can help parents decide if... Read more...
The Amazon Echo has been a pretty hot gadget to have around the home.  At its core, the Echo is a smart speaker system which can respond to voice commands care of Amazon's digital personal assistant named Alexa.  Alexa can queue up your favorite playlist, remind you about your meetings for the day, re-order toilet paper, or even help set some mood lighting with the right integration.  For all the fun and convenience the Echo can offer, though, it doesn't come cheap with a current price point of $179.99.Fortunately, Amazon has provided a solution to this cost problem, provided you are willing to get your hands dirty. Amazon released instructions on GitHub this week on how to setup... Read more...
As we first heard in early January, Amazon is expanding its Echo family, and today the company is announcing two new Alexa-powered devices. The first is the Echo Dot, which looks like a regular Echo that has been hit with a shrink ray to take on the form of a hockey puck. The Echo Dot doesn’t have all of the speaker hardware of its bigger brother and instead connects to your existing speaker system. If you’re at all familiar with the regular Echo, all remaining functionality of the Echo Dot is exactly the same — you’ll even find the same blue glowing ring and a seven-microphone array. You can ask Alexa questions — including U.S. election results — and call on it to control your home automation... Read more...
Amazon surprised a lot of people when, seemingly out of the blue, it launched a smart speaker called Echo. It may have seemed like an oddball product at the time, but not anymore. Echo's built-in digital assistant, Alexa, dutifully executes an assortment of commands—she'll even order Domino's Pizza! Echo works with an assortment of third-party products and services, and now you can add the ecobee3 "smarter" Wi-Fi thermostat to the mix. "We’re excited to provide ecobee3 users with added functionality and convenience through Amazon Echo," said Stuart Lombard, president and CEO of ecobee. "Amazon has been a tremendous retailer to work with, and we are looking forward to expanding that relationship... Read more...
Amazon's Echo smart speaker and digital assistant keeps getting smarter and smarter it seems and it's beginning to pay dividends for the company. So much so that recent reports note that Amazon's Echo is the most popular Bluetooth speaker in the etail channel right now, besting strong competitors like Bose, Sonos and Logitech. We gave Amazon's smart, musical little princess high marks in our full review for both versatility and responsiveness, as well as its future growth potential. AMZN has been committed to enhancing the platform since day one and Alexa, Echo's oh-so helpful digital persona has come a long way since she was introduced to market. Recently Amazon has added home automation controls... Read more...
Well here's an interesting development—Amazon today announced that its Echo smart speaker now supports streaming directly from Spotify. That means if you're a subscriber to Spotify's Premium tier, you can bark commands like "Alexa, play ZZ Top from Spotify" and in no time you'll be boogieing out to "Sharp Dressed Man." It's interesting because the added functionality comes less than a week after reports emerged that Amazon is working on a standalone streaming music service of its own, one that would topple Spotify and other players in the space. Maybe those plans are a long way off or perhaps this is a case of keeping your enemies closer than your friends. Whatever the case might be, this is... Read more...
Wouldn't it be rad (yes, I said rad) if James Lipton was always on call to provide a dramatic reading of a novel? I'd also be delighted to sit back and listen to James Earl Jones narrate a grisly tale, or Morgan Freeman read just about anything, even a telephone book. Perhaps they'd be willing for the right amount of coin, but in lieu of what's probably not attainable, Alexa, the voice of Amazon's Echo speaker, will happily read from your collection of Kindle books. "With Kindle Books by Alexa, you can ask Alexa to read Kindle books in your library. Alexa reads books purchased from the Kindle Store, borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited, or shared with you using... Read more...
For some, digital assistants are a part of everyday life. They're all around us. In mobile, they take the form of Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, depending on your platform of choice, and thanks to Amazon, similar functionality can be had at home without a phone through its Echo speaker. It's been a popular seller for Amazon, so it's no surprise that the company is working on a second version.Supposedly an announcement in imminent in the coming weeks. Early chatter suggests Amazon's second generation Echo speaker, code named Fox, will be smaller and portable. To put it in context, the current generation Echo measures 9.25 inches high and has a diameter of 3.27 inches. It's a slick looking device,... Read more...
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon. Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for purchase on an invite-only basis from Amazon. Seven months after it was announced, Amazon made its... Read more...
It’s been a long time coming, but Amazon’s innovative Echo speaker can now be purchased by anyone with an Amazon account. Echo, which was first announced in early November, has until today only been available to Amazon customers on an invite-only basis. Echo is more than just a speaker; it’s a digital assistant for your home that responds to the sound of your voice to provide information on weather, sports scores, traffic, and even news. It’s audio capabilities are enhanced via the ability to tap into streaming music services like Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. You can use your voice to reorder products that you’ve purchased in the past from Amazon and you can even command... Read more...
Amazon's digital assistant and home entertainment gadget called Echo is continually being updated with new tricks and features. For example, it recently learned the ability to report the traffic and can now report on sports scores, tap into Pandora, and is compatible with connected home devices from WeMo and Philips Hue. But the newest trick Amazon just added to Echo's growing stable is to play audiobooks."Now you can listen to audiobooks from Audible with Echo," Amazon stated in an email. "Audiobooks offer a great way to enjoy your favorite books while relaxing, cooking, or spending time together with family."Amazon goes on to list a series of supported commands, such as:Start any book you own... Read more...
Amazon is in the business of making us spend money. The online retail giant knows that we humans are an impatient bunch, so it should be no surprise that Amazon Prime gives customers a value-laced solution to receive products quickly all year long (not to mention the added perks like video streaming, music streaming, and cloud storage). Amazon has even appealed to shoppers with itchy trigger fingers with its new Wi-Fi-enabled “Dash” buttons that allow you to reorder household goods like razors, detergent, diapers, and more with the press of a single button. But this is Amazon we’re talking about; surely there an even easier way for you to part ways with your money.There is, of course, and Amazon... Read more...
There have been a lot tablets and smartphones to receive the teardown treatment, so it's nice to see a different kind of product get taken apart. This time it's the Amazon Echo in-home personal assistant thingamabob -- essentially a know-it-all smart speaker that acts like Siri but comes in the shape of a tube with a 2.5-inc woofer, 2-inch tweeter, 7-microphone array, and light ring volume adjustments. Cool stuff, but is it easy to repair?In a word, yes. The nimble fingered folks at iFixIt said there's just a little bit of stickiness holding the bottom rubber lid in place, which is easy to peel away. Underneath are "four impressively long T10 screws" tasked with holding the bottom stage of the... Read more...
Remember that uncomfortable feeling you got in the pit of your stomach from watching Amazon's terribly awkward commercial for its new Echo digital assistant speaker thing? Well, we felt it too, as did the Internet community at large. And just like a shot of something horrible tasting needs a chaser to restore order, so it goes with Amazon's ad, and thankfully somebody on the on web has posted a remake of the commercial on YouTube. First, a little refresher is in order. The Amazon Echo is an always ready digital assistant in the form of a cylinder speaker. To use it, you say the wake word, "Alexa," followed by your inquiry. Echo then fetches the answer from Amazon's cloud, whether it's a conversion... Read more...
Once upon a time, Amazon was an online e-tailer. Now, the company has become a full-on technology maker, with loads of hardware and software to speak of. There's the Kindle, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet range, Fire Phone, Amazon Appstore, and plenty more. The company is continuing its foray into the hardware realm with the release of Echo, which is a voice-controlled speaker that not only supports streaming music, but also order commands for items on Amazon. It's black, sleek, and quite impressive. Design-wise, it does a lot of things right. On the functionality side, it provides information, music, news, weather and more, and it's completely controlled by one's voice. Supposedly, it's... Read more...
We've seen a number of hot smartphones hit the market recently, including the HTC Thunderbolt, Droid Charge, and others. Although each phone has its own appeal, there are also a lot of similarities among today's hottest smartphones—most have a 1GHz processor, at least 16GB of storage in one form or another, at least a 4-inch display, etc. Sprint and Kyocera weren't content to simply offer more of the same in terms of smartphones. That's where the Kyocera Echo comes in to play. This smartphone features an innovative design with not one, but two, screens. The Echo is the first dual-touchscreen Android-based smartphone to hit the market, and it certainly brings a new experience to Android.... Read more...
We've seen a number of hot smartphones hit the market recently, including the HTC Thunderbolt, Droid Charge, and others. Although each phone has its own appeal, there are also a lot of similarities among today's hottest smartphones—most have a 1GHz processor, at least 16GB of storage in one form or another, at least a 4-inch display, etc. Sprint and Kyocera weren't content to simply offer more of the same in terms of smartphones. That's where the Kyocera Echo comes in to play. This smartphone features an innovative design with not one, but two, screens. The Echo is the first dual-touchscreen Android-based smartphone to hit the market, and it certainly brings a new experience to... Read more...
Kyocera and Sprint are teaming up to offer an Android experience unlike what you’ll get on any other smartphone. The new Kyocera Echo, the nation’s first dual-touchscreen smartphone, is now available for $199.99 after a two-year contract. The Echo features two high-resolution 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen displays that can be used independently or together for a tablet-like experience. The device can also be folded into a single-screen configuration.  The Kyocera Echo runs on Android 2.2 and features a 5 megapixel camera with flash, 720 HD camcorder, 1 GB of onboard memory, 8GB microSD card, and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. Kyocera Echo™ Has Arrived – Nation’s First... Read more...
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