The popularity of the Echo by Amazon is making many believe that it will be the next big thing in consumer technology. The Echo is a screenless, voice-controlled household computer that can perform a variety of tasks, including playing music, reading the news and weather, keeping a shopping list, and ordering products. Some are now suggesting that the Echo is on the path to become Amazon’s next $1 billion business.
The Echo was first introduced to the market in late 2014. According to reviews posted on Amazon, consumers are loving the device. Echo devices are routinely sold out on the retailer’s website, often in stock for just a few weeks before the supply is depleted. While the device sells for $180 on Amazon’s site, prices on eBay have soared as high as $300.
Fans of the device say that its voice-recognition capabilities are more intuitive than those of many other voice-activated personal assistants available today. Amazon’s engineers spent years perfecting the device’s capabilities. The device is also easy to use. You simply set the device somewhere in your home and address the personal assistant feature as Alexa. The Echo can be activated hands-free from far across the room and it can decipher your voice in noisy environments.
Amazon is investing a great deal of money into expanding Echo into more households across the nation. Last week, two new versions of the machine were revealed by Amazon. One is a portable version of the Echo, while the other is a stationary version that plugs into existing speaker systems. The company even paid for Super Bowl ads featuring the device, showing that it is willing to spend big to attract more users.
The abilities of the Echo device is opening up a vast new realm in personal computing. Developers are racing to create voice-controlled apps for the device and there are now more than 500 apps available. The Echo can now control your Internet-connected lights, home thermostats and a variety of other devices. Advances in microphone technology, speech recognition, and cloud connectivity will provide Amazon with even more interesting possibilities for the device.