UPDATE: You can now purchase the Amazon Echo with no wait list here: http://amzn.to/1Nr5tLU
NOTE: I freely interchange the terms "Echo" and "Alexa" in this article to describe the device - I mean the same thing either time.
Let me just be up front about my excitement for the Amazon Echo before I even get started. From the moment it was announced I was already interested. That excitement grew to a fever pitch when I finally saw the video (to the right). I quickly signed up for an invitation to purchase. I was ecstatic when I got the email that I had been selected to be an early buyer. The real trick (I thought) might be convincing my wife that we "needed" it. Upon showing her the video it was apparent that I needed to buy it right away. I took this as subtle hint when she said "OMG YOU NEED TO BUY IT NOW".
Being an Amazon Prime member for many years now it is safe to say that I am a fan of the company. I have had nothing but good experience with the general use of purchasing, the other devices such as Kindle Fire, and especially the customer service. Having said that, I wanted to try and go into this review subjectively and not give away any "free passes" on this product. In an effort to contain my excitement I patiently waited and even had Amazon officially consoling me in the meantime.
- Music Streaming
At this point, I would say the Amazon Echo is the most useful as a music streaming device. This is even more the case if you already have your music on the Amazon Cloud (as I do). One of my side business ventures is as a live music DJ and therefore I have quite a large and prolific library of songs. This has been extremely helpful as we are able to tell "Alexa" (which is the keyword to turn the device on) to play almost anything we want to hear. (Finally my meticulous naming and organizing of digital content has paid off!) Your own library is supplemented by other services that include the Amazon Prime Stations and iHeartRadio (of which you need to have an account). We have managed to find a list of songs that it was not able to play from any of the sources, but adding them is easy (and you can even have the Echo make the purchase for you via your Amazon account).
- Sound Quality
- Voice Control
- Personal Assistance (Timers, Quick Facts, To Do and Shopping Lists)
Where it could go from here?
- Control Your "Smart Home"
- General Internet Searches
- Current Info
- Further Customization
The greatest thing about the device is that it has the potential to constantly update itself (scary for some) and any of these potential improvements or changes can happen seamlessly and without any effort on the user's part. Amazon definitely has made something that has the potential to become a central part of people's lives. Take this from me as my wife has already informed me she loves Alexa more than me. Strangely, I am OK with that.
Watch below for the video I made just minutes after we hooked it up for the first time: