Hello readers, I just received my Amazon Echo device today. I was one of the lucky Amazon Prime members who got an early invite. What follows is my quick review of this device and two videos to show it to you in action.
Amazon Echo ships in a nice package that contains the following:
- Echo speaker and power adapter
- A remote control and two batteries
- Short user manual
- A small cheat sheet of words that one can say to instruct the device
Amazon Echo has 2 buttons on top and a volume ring to control the volume. The first button is used to turn off the microphone. When you do this then Echo won’t wake up when you say the trigger word. In that case you have to use the remote control.
The remote control is pretty handy:
Apart from controlling the volume and playback, it also allows you to use the “Microphone button” to talk to Amazon Echo in case you were in a loud place, another room or simply when Echo’s microphone is off.
Check this video:
It is better to show you Amazon Echo in action with these two video:
So in short, Amazon Echo can be used for:
- Setting alarms and timers
- Streaming music via Bluetooth from your phone, tablet or other devices
- Listening to jokes
- Getting answers to questions: facts, science…stuff you normally read on Wikipedia
- Play music from your library and Amazon Prime Music
- Voice controlled calculator
As a geek, I would love to have some features like:
- Programmer’s SDK with at least speech to text functions to let the programmer augment the voice commands in Echo
- Plugging in user apps to react to certain voice commands
- Add IFTTT support
- Voice notes feature
- This is useful to record your thoughts and conversations
- Record your dreams without moving your body, opening your eyes, turning on the lights or using a notepad
- Personal trainer mode
- Ability to turn on or off Echo’s microphone with the remote control. Maybe there is a way to do that right now but I have not figured it out yet
- Answer and make phone calls when the phone is paired view Bluetooth
- Interface with Skype or other voice messaging apps
- Multiple Echo devices synchronization
- Imagine you have 2 or more Echo devices and you want to use them to play the same music throughout your house:
- Home stereo/surround scenario: giving names to two Echo devices and have them play in stereo or surround together the same piece of music
- Presence sensing
- Imagine that you want the Echo device to mute when you leave the room or when you start talking to another Echo device
I am really pleased with this device. It can be improved a lot but I am not worried about that because Echo’s brain is in the cloud, so it will be improved every day as Amazon Engineers keep on improving the backend engine that drives it.
If Amazon Echo is released before the end of the year then it makes a good Xmas gift 🙂
Good work Amazon!