Amazon Echo: half wireless speaker, half digital assistant

Amazon introduced a wireless speaker called Echo. The remarkable thing about this speaker is not to be cylindrical or likely to stream audio from another device or from the Web.

Amazon Echo

The difference of echo to the rest is that it also accepts voice commands. It fact, as the Moto X by Motorola or the Xbox One, is always attentive: it is activated by a key word (“Alexa”) and you can make inquiries (about a factor of Wikipedia, weather forecast, etc.) or ask to play such music or set an alarm, the style of which already offer Siri, Cortana or Google Now.

The controversial point (for which it also passed Motorola and Microsoft) is that attention to sound is constant and audio processing is done in Amazon’s servers (in fact, as with the orders of Cortana, Siri and Google Now), which many see as a potential privacy issue. But like them, you can disable the microphone, for use only as a speaker.

The device has Wi-Fi to have own Internet access and Bluetooth to connect to other devices; and it is compatible with the Amazon music service, with TuneIn or from the tablet or smartphone, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music or whatever stored on that device. It uses 7 microphones for noise cancellation. It will cost $200 in the US.