Amazon Echo is a new smart speaker product from Amazon that combines voice recognition “intelligent assistant” capabilities with speaker functionality in a cylindrical speaker form factor.
Amazon Echo’s Alexa intelligent assistant capabilities mimic those of Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana, and it features seven different microphones with beam-forming technology for picking up voice requests and commands from any direction and any location in a room.
How Amazon Echo Works and Its Speaker Functionality
Amazon Echo responds to voice control by returning information on products, music, news, weather, sports and more. The back-end engine for Amazon Echo runs on Amazon Web Services in the cloud, enabling it to learn an individual or family’s preferences and expand its functionality over time.
As a portable speaker, Amazon Echo’s dual downward-firing speakers play audio with hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Echo also features Bluetooth capabilities that enable it to stream music services such as iTunes, Pandora and Spotify from smartphones, tablets and similar mobile devices.
Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo currently retails for $179 after debuting in mid-2015 at an initial retail price of $199. The Echo product line has also since expanded to include a more portable, battery-operated device called the Echo Tap, and a smaller, sleeker version of the Echo called the Echo Dot that sells for $50.