Have you heard of the Amazon Echo?
This is like Black Mirror, but now. Now, dammit!
Luckily this isn’t a dystopian future but a calm one where tech and droids and bots are on hand to serve us, the superior race of humans. And Amazon have made it well. Unlike Apple’s voice bot, Siri, the Echo has a calming, consistent tone. You certainly can’t envision the Echo storming into your bedroom wielding a Jamie Oliver breadknife, demanding to be given more megabytes.
So, what does it do?
Not only can you get all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, TuneIn and more using just your voice activation to get it started, it has what is called immersive, 360º omni-directional audio. That’s basically the ‘bot listening and waiting for their command.
So, simply with no hands, you control this bit of kit with your voice. It says it can heard you across the room, even if you cool bacon or play some drum and bass. (Well, it says a ‘noisy’ area will be fine.)
All fine, all dandy. You might be shrugging like ‘yeah but I have Siri for that’.However, with just a question, like you do to your imaginary friend, it can answer questions, read audiobooks, report news, traffic and weather, provide sports scores and schedules, and more using the internal Alexa Voice Service.
AND it’s not done there.
It can also control lights, switches, thermostats and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Hive, Netatmo, tado° and other services.
In short, its stupidly cool. It’s like having a Jetson maid in your house.
The options are endless.
What’s more, it learns from you, not only your voice, but your plans and your searches/ music history.
The bad news?
It’s still early days. You can be an early adopter, but you’re getting bing searches and some pretty glitchy bits according to some reviews in terms of app compatibility. However, every glitch with Fire, Kindle etc was ironed out. Knowing how spot on the service is, I would be tempted to get now at the good price and speak to the tech team. It’s a small price to pay for the robot that can help you out in your kitchen for well under £200.
A great gift for any tech lover. If someone’s a bit tech-phobic, maybe let them stick with Siri.
You can pick one up here or have a look at the reviews. Grab a Amazon Echo