Amazon launches Echo: a 360-degree Siri-like speaker

AMAZON has announced a new product designed to sit like a speaker in your house, but that also offers similar internet-connected abilities to Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant.

Echo, which is currently on sale by invitation only in the US for $199 ($99 for Amazon Prime Customers), responds to a variety of vocal commands, with users able to request news updates, set alarms, play music and have simple questions (dates and figures mainly) answered via information from Wikipedia.

Although Amazon is launching the product as a piece of hardware, the key is the company's new digital assistant, apparently nicknamed 'Alexa'.

Alexa won't just live in Echo, but will also be available to access via apps on desktop computers, Android and iOS, letting user "easily manage [their] alarms, music, shopping lists, and more".

 

Echo itself connects to a home's Wi-Fi and has a 360-degree array of both microphones and speakers, with a 2.5-inch woofer that Amazon claims can "fill any room with immersive sound".

It seems like a canny move from Amazon. Although we've gotten used to the idea of 'personal assistants' on mobiles, they're often most useful in environments when we're happy to shout aloud at our phones.

If Amazon can make 'Alexa' the go to helper in the kitchen and living room, then users won't just use voice commands to check the news and play music - they'll probably do some shopping too.


Up to $1200 for young athletes who travel to compete

Up to $1200 for young athletes who travel to compete

The subsidy will assist rising sport stars living in regional Queensland.

Central Highlands councillor to stand for second term

premium_icon Central Highlands councillor to stand for second term

Christine Rolfe will stand for re-election in March.

Mining leader secures $180m in contracts

premium_icon Mining leader secures $180m in contracts

Mine contract delivering services across the Bowen Basin.