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While playing with the Echo Spot this week, I discovered a micro USB port, in between the power and audio-out ports, that's hidden behind an. As you probably can tell, the biggest draw of the Echo Spot is its round, 2.5-inch touchscreen. The overall design looks like a marriage of the. Find out all you need to know about Amazon Echo IoT devices. In 2020 Amazon launched a new look for its Echo and Echo Dot devices.
amazon echo spot
amazon echo spot

Amazon Echo

Voice command device from Amazon.com

Amazon Echo, often shortened to Echo, is an American brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which will respond when a user says "Alexa". Users may change this wake word to "Amazon", "Echo", or "Computer".[1][2] The features of the device include voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, and playing audiobooks, in addition to providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. The smart speaker needs to use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet as there is no Ethernet port.

Amazon started developing Echo devices inside its Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and in Cambridge, Massachusetts as early as 2010. The device represented one of first attempts to expand its device portfolio beyond the Kindlee-reader.[3]

Amazon initially limited the first-generation Echo to Amazon Prime members or just by invitation, but it became widely available in the United States in mid 2015,[4] and subsequently in other countries. Additionally, the Alexa voice service is available to be added to other devices, and Amazon encourages other companies' devices and services to connect to it.[5]

History[edit]

The first-generation Amazon Echo

Work on the Amazon Echo began in 2011, known as "Project D". It was named this because the Kindle was Project A and the Fire Phone was Project B. The Amazon Echo was an offshoot of Project C. Project C is unknown, even though the work on it has stopped. The Amazon Echo was originally supposed to be called navy federal credit union no down payment mortgage Amazon Flash. The wake word, the word that makes the device responsive, for the Echo used to be "Amazon". Both of these attributes were disliked by Lab126, the division of Amazon that conducts research and development and creates computer hardware. Lab126 believed that "Amazon" is too much of a commonly used word, and the device would react when it was not intended to. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, ended up being influenced by Lab126 to change the name of the device to the Amazon Echo and the wake word to "Alexa".[6] The Amazon Echo was originally pitched as only a smart speaker, it was not originally intended to be a smart home hub, as it is now, until after it was launched. As Alexa, the artificial intelligence (A.I.) that powers the Amazon Echo, improved, the device became more of a controlling center for smart home appliances. Dave Isbitski, the chief developer evangelist for the Echo and Alexa, received calls from smart home manufacturers to discuss connecting their devices, after the release of the Amazon Echo. But smart home devices had a problem: people were not buying smart home devices because they often required an extra app in order to be used, which was not much better than just using the device manually.[7]

The Amazon Echo (1st Generation) was initially released in March 2014 for Amazon Prime and invited members, and was marketed alongside the voice of the product, Alexa. Alexa is a voice associated with the Amazon Echo that will respond to questions and requests through artificial intelligence. Amazon has claimed that the voice of Alexa was inspired by electronic communications systems featured in the television series Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.[8]

Amazon developers chose the name Alexa because the X in the end of the name makes the word appear symmetric and appealing, and the hard consonant sound makes the product name more easily remembered with more accuracy and precision.[citation needed]

Shortly after the Amazon Echo release, Amazon announced Alexa Fund in June 2015, in which they invested in companies that made voice control devices. This fund ended up investing over $100 million in several companies that made products like the Amazon Echo.[citation needed]

Since the release of the Amazon Amazon echo spot in early 2014 the company, Amazon, has developed many similar devices that they have released into the artificial intelligence and technological markets.

The Echo featured prominently in Amazon's first Super Bowl broadcast television advertisement in 2016.[9]

In March 2016 Amazon released a byproduct of the Amazon Echo, called the Amazon Echo Dot. This device is an ice hockey puck sized version of the original Amazon Echo released in 2014, and it has the same capabilities. This product was designed to be used in smaller rooms such as bedrooms due to its limited speaker capabilities (size) or to be paired with an external speaker. In November 2016 the second generation of the Echo Dot was released for a lower price with improved voice recognition and new colors.

The second generation of the Amazon Echo was released in October 2017. This update offered better voice recognition and a fabric covering exterior. Subsequently, other variants of the Amazon Echo have been released.

In May 2017 Amazon released the now-discontinued Amazon Tap, a portable, slightly smaller version of the Amazon Echo. Although the two products are similar the Tap is battery powered, portable, and requires the touch of a button in order to enable voice commands.

In April 2017 the Amazon Echo Look was released to invitees only, as an Amazon Echo with a built in camera. It was designed as a speaker, that is also handy with artificial intelligence that has smart algorithms to help users pick out outfits. It was released to the general public in August 2018.

In June 2018 the Amazon Echo Show was released to the public as a device with a 7-inch screen used for streaming media, making video calls and the use of Alexa. The second generation of the device was made available in November 2018 and features a 10-inch screen with improved speakers.

Features[edit]

A microphone (center) and two LEDs (left and right) inside an Echo Dot
The Echo contains several microphones (here: an array of seven microphones inside an Echo Dot, with six of them arranged in a circle alternating with LEDs)
A loudspeaker inside an Echo Dot

See also: Amazon Alexa

Overview of operation[edit]

In the default mode, the device continuously listens to all speech, monitoring for the wake word to be spoken, which is primarily set up as "Alexa" (derived from Alexa Internet, the Amazon-owned Internet indexing company). Echo's microphones can be manually disabled by pressing a mute button to turn off the audio processing circuit.[3]

Echo devices require a wireless Internet connection in order to work. Echo's voice recognition capability is based on Amazon Web Services and the voice platform Amazon acquired from Yap,[10]Evi, and IVONA[11] (a Polish-based specialist in voice technologies used in the Kindle Fire).[12]

The smart speakers perform well with a "good" (low-latency) Internet connection, which minimizes processing time due to minimal communication round trips, streaming responses and geo-distributed service endpoints. While the application is free, an Amazon account is required, and setup is not possible without one.

Available services[edit]

Echo devices offer weather from AccuWeather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, BBC, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn.[13] Echo can play music from the owner's Amazon Music accounts[14] and has built-in support for other streaming music services like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and Sirius XM among others,[15] and has support for IFTTT and Nest thermostats.[16] Echo can also play music from non-compatible music streaming services such as Google Play Music from a phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Echo maintains voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping and to-do lists and can access Wikipedia articles. Echo will respond to questions about items in one's Google Calendar. It also integrates with Yonomi,[17]Philips Hue, Belkin Wemo, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.[18][19] Additionally, integration with the Echo is in the works for Countertop by Orange Chef, Sonos,[20] Scout Alarm, Garageio, Toymail, MARA, and Mojio.[21] Questions amazon echo spot "Who is Barack Obama?" are answered by reading the first few lines of the corresponding Wikipedia article.[22]

Echo devices also have access to "skills" built with the Alexa Skills Kit. These are third-party-developed voice applications amazon echo spot add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo). Examples of skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm, order a pizza or a ridesharing car (e.g., Uber, Lyft), and more. Skills are continuously being added to increase the capabilities available to the user. For example, one new skill that Alexa has learned is the ability to play "games" with users. One such game is "Escape the Garage" in which the user must correctly answer questions that Alexa asks, while figuring out a way to escape. The Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service application programming interfaces (API), tools, documentation and code samples that make it fast and easy for any developer to add skills to Alexa. Developers can also use the "Smart Home Skill API",[23] a new addition to the Alexa Skills Kit, to easily teach Alexa how to control cloud-controlled lighting and thermostat devices. All of the code runs in the cloud and nothing is on any user device. A developer can follow tutorials to learn how to quickly build voice-response capability for their new and existing applications.[24]

In November 2018, a major new feature was launched that will allow users to make Skype calls. Every past and present Echo device will be able to dial a number via Skype. Echo devices that have a display will offer full video Skype capability.[25]

In May 2019, Amazon released Alexa Guard. If "Away mode" is enabled, if an Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking, it will amazon echo spot alerts to the Alexa app on smartphones. If the user has professional monitoring, it can send alerts directly to the security provider. It can also switch smart lights on and off to make it look like someone is home. Amazon also offers Guard Plus, this paid for option enables other features such as playing the sound of a dog barking when an intruder is detected.[26]

Voice Services[edit]

The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) allows developers to voice-enable connected products with a microphone and speaker. The AVS enables volume control, audio playback, and speech recognition.[27] The devices have natural lifelike voices resulting from speech-unit technology.[28][additional citation(s) needed] High speech accuracy is achieved through sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) algorithms built into the Echo's text-to-speech (TTS) engine.[citation needed]

Software updates[edit]

As with all Alexa devices, the functionality of Echo smart speakers periodically evolves as Amazon releases new software for it. Most new releases fix bugs in addition to including enhanced functionality. New releases are pushed to the devices on a gradual basis so it may take several days to a week or more for a particular device to be updated. Because much of Echo's intelligence lies in the cloud, significant functional enhancements can be made to Echo without updating the software version it is running. For example, in April 2015, the Echo added the ability to give live sports scores without updating the software version running on the device.[29]

Smart Home[edit]

The Amazon Echo is able to connect to many different smart home devices. Thermostats, humidifiers, lightbulbs, plugs, dog and cat feeder, door locks, cameras, thermostats, security systems, speakers, WiFi, televisions, vacuums, microwaves, printers, and other smart home devices can now all be controlled through Alexa. Alexa can be used to activate and deactivate all of these smart home appliances, as well as change their settings depending on the device. For example, Alexa can be used to change the temperature in a house through a thermostat, turn off the lights with smart lights, put out dog or cat food via a smart pet feeder, and activate the security systems via a smart security system. The user is able organize these smart home devices by putting them into groups. For example, a user can make a "Music Group" on the Amazon Echo.[30] The Amazon Echo will be able to play music and other media in multiple rooms in a house through other Echos and speakers that are in the "Music Group". Along with multiple groups, an Amazon Echo can hold multiple profiles. Switching between the profiles can allow users to play their music, access their calendars, and use their accounts for shopping, instead of just using one person's.[31]

Hands-free[edit]

Amazon Echos are able to make calls and send messages. Users can make calls to another Amazon Echo or speaker that is in the house by calling the device name. Users can also make calls and send messages to other people that have an Amazon Echo. This is done by connecting the user's contacts to the Amazon Echo. The user's Amazon Echo will call their contact's Amazon Echo. They will be able to have a conversation using the Amazon Echos. Messages will go to the contact's phone, in the Alexa App. The message can also be played on the Echo.[31]

Variants[edit]

Echo[edit]

Amazon Echo unpacked (15978606333).jpg

Amazon Echo unpacked, January 2015

Release date
  • November 6, 2014 (2014-11-06)(Amazon Prime and invited members)
  • June 23, 2015 (2015-06-23)(released in the U.S.)
  • September 28, 2016 (2016-09-28)(released in the U.K.)
  • October 26, 2016 (2016-10-26)(released in Germany)
Introductory priceUS$179.99
GB£149.99
EUR€179.99
ConnectivityWi-Fi and Bluetooth
WebsiteAmazon Echo (US)
Amazon Echo (UK)
Amazon Echo (Germany)

The first-generation Amazon Echo consists of a 9.25 inch (23.5 cm) tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array.[3] The Echo hardware complement includes a Texas Instruments DM3725 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 256MB of LPDDR1 RAM and 4GB of storage space.[32] As of July 2017[update], the first-generation Echo maintained an 83% score on GearCaliber, a review aggregator.[33]

Although the Echo is intended to be voice-controlled at the unit, a microphone-enabled remote control similar to the one bundled with the Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase. The remote was also bundled with early units. An action button on top of the unit is provided for user setup in a new location, and the mute button allows the microphones to be turned off.[34] The top half-inch of the unit rotates to increase or decrease bank of eastman magnolia state bank speaker volume. The Echo must be plugged in to operate since it has no internal battery.[35]

Echo provides dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices.[36]

The mainline Linux kernel is able to boot the Amazon Echo since version 5.6.[37]

In September 2020, the 4th gen Echo was announced replacing the Echo and Echo Plus devices in a new spherical form-factor. The Echo brings the Echo Plus' Zigbee smart home hub with support for Amazon Sidewalk.[38][39]

Limited editions[edit]

As part of a holiday promotion, Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch drove the Treasure Truck around Seattle in December 2016 selling a limited-edition beast-mode Echo with a custom skin.[40] The beast-mode version was a first-generation Echo that responded to a user's commands with Marshawn Lynch's voice, instead of the Alexa voice.[41]

In November 2017, a Product Red version of the second-generation Echo was announced as a limited edition item.[42]

Another special version of Echo is the Alexa Super Skills Collectible edition, which was given to select Amazon Alexa developers who published five skills between July 22 and October 30, 2017. This special variant comes with a white mask, a blue cape, and a blue belt.[citation needed]

Availability[edit]

Amazon initially limited the first-generation Echo to Amazon Prime members or just by invitation, but it became widely available in the United States in mid 2015. [43] In 2016, the Echo became available in the United Kingdom and Germany.[44]

As of November 2018[update], the Echo was available in 40 countries:[citation needed]Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay.

In 2018, Amazon and Microsoft jointly announced a solution to integrate their digital assistants so that Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, could be called from an Amazon Echo device and Alexa could be called from Windows devices, including PCs. In January 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Cortana would no longer be a platform competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant, but rather a voice skill to access Microsoft 365 via other voice assistants.[citation needed] As of April 2019, Alexa was the only Cortana-integrated voice assistant, which gave it exclusive access to Microsoft’s suite of business applications.

Echo Dot[edit]

The black Amazon Echo Dot (second generation) sitting idle on a wood surface

1st Gen[edit]

In March 2016, Amazon unveiled the original Amazon Echo Dot,[45] which is a hockey puck-sized version of the Echo designed to be connected to external speakers due to the smaller size of the onboard speakers, or to be used in rooms such as the bedroom as an alternative to the full-sized Echo. Beyond these distinctions, the Amazon Echo Dot possesses the same functions as the original Amazon Echo.[46]

External third-party portable batteries[47] are available for the Dot.

2nd Gen[edit]

The second generation of the Amazon Echo Dot became available on October 20, 2016. It is priced lower, has improved voice recognition, and is available in black, grey and white. The Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) technology allows several Echo and Dot units to work together so that only one device answers the request.[citation needed] As of Amazon echo spot, the Echo Dot maintained a 78% score on GearCaliber, based on 23 reviews.[48]

On August 18, 2017, an Amazon promotion allowed Amazon Prime customers to receive a 100% price reduction on the Echo Dot (from $49.99 to $0.00). Amazon never commented on the promotion or gave any indication of how many Dots were given away.[49]

3rd Gen[edit]

In September 2018, an updated Echo Dot (3rd gen) was unveiled with a fabric covering.[50]

In January 2019, Amazon's SVP of devices and services, Dave Peoples bank and trust company owenton ky, revealed that over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices had been sold. The company's earnings reports and press releases also reveal that the Echo Dot has been among the top-selling products on Amazon.com for 2017 and 2018.[citation needed]

In July 2021, Amazon ran a promotion to give a price discount on the Echo Dot, reducing the price from $39.99 to $4.99 with a coupon code.

4th Gen[edit]

In September 2020, the fourth generation Echo Dot was revealed with a new spherical design and 30% smaller compared to the 3rd gen Echo.[38][51]

Amazon Tap[edit]

The Amazon Tap is a smaller portable version of the Echo.[52] The Tap can do the many things the Echo can do; however, as it is battery-powered, it is also portable.[53] Initially, the user had to press an activation button on the front of the Tap to speak commands. However, a February 2017 software update allows the option of activating the Tap with an activation word, just like the Echo and the Dot.[54] Some of the limitations of the Tap include not being able to stream music as part of a group and not being able to send announcements to the device. Additionally the Tap does not support "Drop In" feature and as a result cannot be used for two-way voice communication. Amazon has discontinued the Tap. This has encouraged 3rd party accessory manufacturers to make available battery add-on units for other Echo products.[55]

Echo Look[edit]

In April 2017, the Amazon Echo Look was introduced as a camera with Alexa built-in, for US$20 more than the first-generation Echo.[56] The device can provide artificial intelligence outfit recommendations, take photos, and record videos; in addition to the features available on the Echo.[57] It offers Amazon Alexa's key feature plus a camera to take pnc financial services group pittsburgh photos and 360-degree videos with built-in AI for fashion advice.[58][59] As a consumer product, it helps catalog users' outfits and rates their looks based on "machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists.[60]

The device was initially only available for purchase by invitation-only in the U.S.[61] However, it became generally available on 6 June 2018.[62] Three years later, Echo Look owners received an email from Amazon stating that the device would soon stop working, because Amazon was discontinuing production and sales of the device. Echo Look owners had a device that they could not use.[63]

Echo Show[edit]

Main article: Amazon Echo Show

In May 2017, Amazon introduced the Echo Show, which features a tactile 7-inch liquid-crystal display screen that can be used for playing media, making video calls (5 MP front camera), and other features.[64] The Echo Show was offered for purchase at a price of $229.99 on June 28, 2017 and was initially only available in the U.S.[65]

A second generation of the Echo Show was unveiled at an Alexa-themed product event by Amazon on September 20, 2018 for release the following month.[66] The new device has a 10-inch touchscreen, improved speakers, and mesh casing.[67] Amazon has released two additional sizes of the Echo Show making them available in both 5- and 8-inch displays. These devices broke the traditional naming mechanism of naming strictly on generation. They are known as the Echo show 5 and Echo Show 8. [68] As of 2021, Amazon announced an Amazon echo spot Show 15 at their “Introducing the latest products and services” event with a 15 inch display.[citation needed]

Echo Spot[edit]

On 27 September 2017, Amazon launched the Echo Spot, a hemispherical device that has the same functions as an Echo Show.[69] The device has a 2.5-inch circular screen, and looks like an alarm clock. The device sold for $129.99.[70] The Echo Spot has been discontinued in all regions except the UK.

Echo Plus[edit]

On 27 September 2017, Amazon announced the Echo Plus, which released on 31 October 2017. It shares design similarities with the first-generation Echo, but also doubles as a smart home hub, connecting to most common wireless protocols to control connected smart devices within a home.[71] It incorporates seven second-generation far field microphones and noise cancellation, while also supporting Dolby Sound.

In September 2018, a second-generation Echo Plus was released. The new version has a fabric covering and includes an embedded temperature sensor.[72] The Echo Plus has since been discontinued in 2020.

Echo Flex[edit]

On 14 November 2019, Amazon released the Echo Flex for $24.99. It is a small device with a speaker that can be plugged directly into a wall outlet. It has a full-sized USB Type-A port into the bottom to charge other devices or into which additional accessories, such as a motion sensor, can be plugged.[73]

Speakerless devices[edit]

At an Alexa-themed product launch event in September 2018, Amazon announced an Echo device designed for cars.[74] The device connects with the user's smartphone over Bluetooth and offers driving direction, in addition to other Alexa functionality.[75]Echo Auto became available as an invite-only product to US customers near the end of 2018.[76]

The Echo Input is an Alexa input device with no on-board speakers.[77] It must be connected to external speakers for audio output. The Echo Link is a higher-end version of the Echo Input, with additional output ports and a volume knob.[78] The Echo Link Amp has the same controls of the Link, but with an amplifier.

Accessories[edit]

Along with the second-generation Echo, Amazon announced two new accessories. The Echo Buttons can be used while playing games on Echo devices, such as Jeopardy!.[79] The Echo Connect is a small adapter that plugs into any Echo and a home phone line, allowing the Echo to make voice calls through a home phone number.[80]

In September 2018, Amazon announced the Echo Sub, a subwoofer that connects to other Echo speakers, and the Echo Wall Clock, which can display how much time is remaining on timers set with an Echo device.[81]

Wearables[edit]

Amazon announced the Echo Loop in September 2019, a smart ring with a button that activates Alexa. The Echo Loop uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone for Internet access.[82] The Echo Framessmartglasses, which support prescription lenses, were also announced on the same day.[83]

Privacy concerns[edit]

There are concerns about the access Echo has to private conversations in the home, or other non-verbal indications that can identify who is present in the home and who is not—based on audible cues such as footstep cadence or radio and television programming.[84][85] Amazon responds to these concerns by stating that Echo only streams recordings from the user's home when the "wake word" activates the device, though the device is technically capable of streaming voice recordings at all times, and in fact will always be listening to detect if a user has uttered the word.

Echo uses past voice recordings the user has sent amazon echo spot the cloud service to improve response to future questions the user may pose. To address privacy concerns, the user can delete voice recordings that are currently associated with the user's account, but doing so may degrade amazon echo spot user's experience using voice search. To delete these recordings, the user can visit the "Manage My Device" page on Amazon.com or contact Amazon customer service. In May 2018, it was reported that an Echo device had sent a recorded conversation to an acquaintance of a user who did not intend for this to happen. Amazon apologized and conjectured that one part of the conversation had been misinterpreted as a command to distribute it.[86]

Echo uses an address set in the Alexa companion app when it needs a location.[87] Amazon and third-party apps and websites use location information to provide location-based services and store this information to provide home remedies for sinus infection and pressure services, the Maps app, Find Your Device, and to monitor the performance and accuracy of location services. For example, Echo voice services use the user's location to respond to the user's requests for nearby restaurants or stores. Similarly, Echo uses the user's location to process the user's mapping-related requests and improve the Maps experience. All information collected is subject to the Amazon.com Privacy Notice.[88]

Amazon retains digital recordings of users' audio spoken after the "wake up word", and while the audio recordings are subject to demands by law enforcement, government agents, and other entities via subpoena, Amazon publishes some information about the warrants it receives, the subpoenas it receives, and some of the warrant-less demands it receives, allowing customers some indication as to the percentage of illegal demands for customer information it receives.[89]

As Amazon employed ex-US-security-chief Gen Keith B. Alexander in autumn 2020, Edward Snowden commented laconically: "It turns out 'Hey Alexa' is short for 'Hey Keith Alexander."[90]

Echo as criminal evidence[edit]

During the course of the investigation into the November 22, 2015 death of Victor Collins in the home of James Andrew Bates in Bentonville, Arkansas, police sought the data stored on the Amazon Echo on the premises as evidence, but were refused by Amazon.[91][92] The conflict was resolved when Bates consented to the release of his personal information that was held by the company.[93][94]

Concerns relating to in-car smart systems[edit]

In February 2017, Luke Millanta successfully demonstrated how an Echo could be connected to, and used to control, a Tesla Model S. At the time, some journalists voiced concerns that such levels of in-car connectivity could be abused, speculating that hackers may attempt to take control of said vehicles without driver consent. Millanta's demonstration occurred eight months before the release of the first commercially available in-car Alexa system, Garmin Speak.[95][96][97]

Limitations[edit]

Purchasing merchandise in the categories of apparel, shoes, jewelry, and watches is not available.[98] In addition, Amazon Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items are not supported by Alexa's ordering function,[99] while the shopping list function allows no more than one item to be added at a time.[100]

Echo has provided inconsistent responses when asked common questions to which users would expect better answers. Echo sometimes confuses certain homophones.[101]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo

Amazon Echo Spot

First announced in 2017, Amazon's Echo Spot is still one of the most interesting Echo speakers we've ever tested, but sadly it's unavailable from Amazon at the time of writing. We're not sure yet if that means it's been discontinued, but it seems highly likely. In the meantime, if you're looking for a dinky Alexa-powered smart display we'd recommend the similarly diminutive Echo Show 5. Alternatively, refer to our best smart speakers roundup to see our pick of the very best smart speakers of all shapes and sizes.

Original review continues below:

Amazon Echo Spot review: What you need to know

What is the Echo Spot? It’s Amazon’s latest smart speaker. It comes with a touchscreen like the Echo Show but it’s more compact and a lot more attractive. Amazon pitches it as an Alexa-enabled alarm clock but it’s also capable of making video and voice calls and lets you watch video, although not via YouTube thanks to the firm’s recent spat with Google.

Otherwise, the Amazon echo spot has all the powers of the other Echo devices, meaning you can control your smart home with your voice, ask it to tell you jokes, get updates about the weather and stream music via Spotify or Amazon Music.

Amazon Echo Spot review: Price and competition

Available for £120 in either Black or White the Echo Spot can also be purchased as a twin pack for £200, at a total saving of £40.

As for its rivals, there’s Amazon’s own suite of Alexa-powered smart speakers to contend with, including the dirt-cheap Echo Dot (£50) the all-new Amazon Echo 2 (£90) and the Echo Show, which has a larger 7.5in touchscreen and better sound quality for £200.

Amazon Echo Spot review: Design bank of eastman magnolia state bank features

The main appeal of the Echo Spot compared with its larger sibling, the Echo Show, apart from the lower price, is its size and the way it looks. It’s spherical in shape and about the size of a softball, with a portion of the bottom sliced off so you can stand it on a flat surface and a section of the front cleaved away and replaced with a circular 2.5in, 480 x 480 resolution touchscreen and VGA camera.

It’s like a grown-up Echo Dot and the perfect size to use on your desk as a smart speakerphone-cum-intercom. You can even use it, as Amazon suggests, as a voice-driven alarm clock but you’ll need to make sure you mute the microphone and camera when you go to bed to avoid your contacts dropping in on you at awkward moments. Fortunately, just like the Echo Show, the Spot has a mute button on top to do just that and a do not disturb mode to prevent intrusions while you sleep.

Otherwise, the Spot is ideally suited to the role of smart alarm clock. When you’re not asking it questions or carrying out video calls it shows a nice-looking clock face on the front, with 17 different styles to choose from and, when you wake up, the display scrolls through a series of news snippets you can ask it for more details about.

And you can set an alarm to wake you with a regular alarm tone or your choice of music or radio station. Beware, though: there’s no way of telling if Alexa has figured out your request exactly, so be prepared for an early morning shock as she tries to wake you up with a blast of punk rock when all you wanted was the terapia ocupacional ubu sound of waves lapping the shore to ease you into Monday morning.

Does the circular touchscreen add to the Alexa experience otherwise? Well, much like the Echo Show, it displays stuff on the screen and allows you to interact with all sorts of things with the power of your index finger. You can access all of your device settings such as display brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as watch the occasional movie or TV show via Amazon Prime Video.

Likewise, you can make and receive video and audio calls as well as view Amazon’s flash cards when you ask Alexa a question or receive song lyrics whenever you play your favourite tunes.

The Spot also works well with a long list of smart home devices, from smart bulbs to thermostats and its screen means it’s particularly well-suited to smart security cameras, like the Nest IQ cam, which you can bring up the feed for with a simple voice command.

Echo Spot review: Sound quality and microphone

Okay, everything’s tickety-boo for the Echo Spot so far, but there’s one crucial and disappointingly negative aspect: sound quality. Despite replicating the Echo Show for features and smart speaker capabilities, the Spot comes nowhere near it for sound quality.

It isn’t as thin or as scratchy sounding as the Echo Dot - the Spot is more full-bodied than that - and it’s perfectly fine for catching up on the news headlines or your favourite podcasts. When it comes to music, though, there’s simply not enough bottom end or warmth to do your favourite tunes justice and it doesn’t go very loud either.

Set up in my moderately sized kitchen I often found that even turning up the volume to its highest level wasn’t enough to raise it above the background of the extractor fan or the kettle boiling. It’s worth noting, though, that you can hook the Echo Spot up to an external speaker via the 3.5mm aux out or via Bluetooth for a fuller, more engaging sound.

That’s a pity but it won’t alarm you to hear that the Spot employs the same excellent far-field microphone technology as its other Echo-powered siblings. There are four microphones here instead of the seven you get on the regular Echo 2 and Echo Plus but they’re just as effective at picking up commands from both near and far and against quite noisy backgrounds.

Amazon Echo Spot: Verdict

The Amazon Echo Spot is easily one of the more interesting Alexa-powered devices Amazon has released recently. It’s far better equipped to blend into your home’s decor than the Echo Show and the circular touchscreen adds valuable extra features.

The one fly in the ointment - and it’s a pretty major one - is the price. At £120, it’s £40 more than twice as pricey as an Echo Dot, £40 more than the Echo 2 and only £30 less than the all-singing, all-dancing smart-hub capable Echo Plus. That makes it one hell of an expensive alarm clock.

Alternatives to consider:

Источник: https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/amazon/amazon-echo-spot

Amazon Echo buying guide: How to choose the best Echo for you

Ever since I saw “Iron Man,” I’ve wanted a robot butler that could manage my entire house. And while we aren’t there quite yet, Amazon’s Alexa has simplified dozens of mundane tasks from playing music to adjusting your lights and thermostat. But if you head to Amazon to buy an Echo, you’ll be inundated with more models and variations than you could possibly sift through. So we decided to try and help. First, let’s clear up the difference between Alexa and Echo, two brand names that often get confused for one another.

  • Alexa is the name of Amazon’s voice assistant — the digital lady that tells you the weather, or answers your burning questions about Taylor Swift’s height (5-foot-11-inches, by the way).
  • The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, is the name of the actual device you put in your kitchen, containing the far-field microphones that listen for the all-important “Alexa” wake word.

Amazon’s Echo devices aren’t the only gadgets with the built-in Alexa assistant, but if you’re looking to run your house with a voice assistant, you’ll almost certainly want a few of them. These are the most current models to look at.

Related

Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Amazon’s standard Echo is the jack-of-all-trades. Its mid-size body allows it to pump out music at a reasonable volume through its 360-degree speaker setup, answer questions and control your smart home. This is the Echo speaker I recommend for most people, at least for the main areas of your house. It comes in four colors, and you can grab it refurbished for a small discount, too.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

If you want access to Alexa in a certain room but don’t necessarily need the larger speakers, the more affordable Echo Dot is perfect. It does everything the Echo does but at half the price. Here’s the catch: Its speakers don’t have the volume and depth of the standard Echo. It’s fine for weather reports but less ideal for music. You can get the Dot with a built-in clock or in a kids edition with parental controls, too.

Related

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

The Echo Plus looks nearly identical to the standard Echo, but it contains a built-in smart home hub that can control certain devices using the Zigbee protocol. It does not, however, support other popular smart home protocols like Z-Wave, so while it can serve as a rudimentary smart home hub, it’s not as powerful as something like Samsung’s SmartThings.

Amazon Echo Studio

While the standard Echo sounds decent for music, the Echo Studio is a larger speaker designed for higher fidelity audio. If you’re in a spacious room and need the extra volume, the Echo Studio could be a good purchase — though true Hi-Fi enthusiasts may want to use the Echo Link (see below) paired with a separate set of speakers.

Related

Amazon Echo Flex

The Echo Flex shrinks the Echo even further: It’s half the price of the Dot, plugs straight into the wall and sports even smaller speakers. This Echo device is best for spaces where you don’t plan on getting music or information from Alexa, but you want to be able to control the lights with your voice. A USB port on the bottom allows for accessories like night lights and motion sensors, too. Amazon just launched an Echo Flex Smart Clock Accessory that you can plug into the Echo Flex's USB port. Once attached, the accessory automatically displays time in a 12-hour or 24-hour format.

Amazon Echo Link

If you like the idea of playing music with your voice but want to use your own set of Hi-Fi speakers, you want the Echo Link. It doesn’t contain built-in microphones but will allow you to ask another Echo to stream music to your stereo. If you don’t already have an amplifier or a receiver, the Echo Link Amp can power your speakers as well. Note that these devices aren't always as seamless as dedicated Echos when it comes to multi-room music, so be sure to test it with your setup if you plan on playing music in sync throughout the house.

Related

Echo Show 5

The Echo Show brings all the voice control of traditional Echo device and adds a screen that allows you to video chat with friends, keep an eye on your home security cameras, or watch YouTube videos as you cook in the kitchen. You can grab it in 5-inch or 8-inch sizes.

Echo Spot

Like the Echo Show, the Echo Spot has a screen built-in, though it’s only two-and-a-half inches — Amazon pitches it as a high-tech alarm clock, with the ability to see the weather or your doorbell at a glance.

Those are the primary members of the Echo family, but this really only scratches the surface of what Amazon offers in the smart home universe.

These devices have some limitations when compared to the standard Echos, especially when it comes to voice messaging and multi-room music, so I generally prefer to stick to the standalone options. But if you’re looking to make your robot butler available everywhere, there is no shortage of Alexa-enabled devices to choose from.

Related

More Shopping Guides and Recommendations

Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon is a former freelance technology writer with bylines in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine, PC Magazine and more. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and How-To Geek.

Источник: https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-amazon-echo-ncna1235765

Information Technology Services Support

Setting up your new Amazon Echo Dot is easy.   Please read this entire article as the evolution of Smart Devices/Speakers are constantly changing and we recognize that people use each device differently.

First, do you have an Amazon Account?  If not, go to step 1.  Otherwise, skip to step 2.

1.  Go to http://alexa.amazon.com.  If you do not have an Amazon account, you can create one by clicking the "Create A New Amazon Account" button.  Follow the instructions provided.

2.  Now, let's setup your new Dot.  Whether you use a mobile device or your computer, you will see the same Alexa App format.

    If you wish to setup your Dot using a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet, download the app and install it on your mobile device.  You can search the app store for your device for "Alexa App", or go to alexa.amazon.com.

    If you wish to install your Dot using your WiFi-enabled computer (laptop, AirBook, Chromebook, etc.), go to http://alexa.amazon.com and log in with your Amazon credentials.

Go to Settings on the left side of the app or page, then tap/click on Set Up New Device.

3.  Now, follow the instructions in your Alexa App to configure your Echo Dot.  Remember, you do need to have WiFi where you are setting up your Echo Dot, and you will need to know your WiFi password if setting it up at home; for setting up your Dot at a Park Campus, see the note below the video.  Here is an easy-to-follow video guide on setting up your new Dot:

https://youtu.be/xeehV7HuZTU

WiFi setup on Park Campuses:

When setting up your Dot at a Park Campus (Dorm, Classroom, Office, etc.), you must have your Dot connect to the Park-Net-Guest WiFi network.  Echo Dots are not able to connect to Park-Net, Park-Lab, nor Park-Employee.  If you wish to setup Smart Lights, Smart Devices, etc., to be controlled by your Alexa, you must install a personal WiFi Router in your Dorm Room or Office and connect your Alexa and smart devices to that network.  Park Net Guest will not allow smart devices to communicate for security and safety.

For assistance, you can call the Park University ITS Help Desk for guidance at 816-584-6768.

Источник: https://support.park.edu/support/solutions/articles/6000192779-how-to-set-up-an-amazon-echo-dot

Amazon Echo Spot review

For her next trick, Alexa takes on the form of a cracking smart alarm clock

Adding a screen to a voice assistant speaker? Now that’s a novel idea – even if the Amazon Echo Show didn’t make it a particularly useful (or attractive) one. 

Not yet, at least. We struggled to find enough worthwhile uses for the Show’s display, especially now that YouTube access is gone thanks to a dust-up with Google.

But now Amazon is back with a second attempt, one that’s like the Echo Dot is to the standard Echo. The Echo Spot is smaller, cheaper, and much more appealing in a few key ways.

Granted, it’s not quite in impulse-buy territory at £120, but this smart alarm clock makes a much stronger impression than the larger, bulkier Echo Show.

DESIGN: HITS THE SPOT

DESIGN: HITS THE SPOT

A lot of that comes down to design. The Echo Show’s large, boxy shape remains one of the least-appealing things about that device, but thankfully, Amazon didn’t stick with that same aesthetic for its next screen-centric assistant.

The Echo Spot’s main influence is immediately obvious: it’s a ball-shaped alarm clock, albeit with a circular LCD screen on the front. Amazon smartly went simple with the Echo Spot, which is understated and can blend more easily into a space than the awkward Echo Show.

It doesn’t look super-premium, but the ultra-minimal design is a lot more refined than we usually see from Amazon devices. It’s available in white or black, and in either case the compact size makes it an ideal fit for your bedside table. Or anywhere else you’d like to put it – the Spot won’t look out of place on a desk or kitchen counter.

We still prefer the black model, because the screen bezel matches the outer shell – go for the white one and you have to make do with a two-tone colour scheme that won’t be to all tastes.

The main attraction is on the front: a crisp and bright, 2.5in circular display, which is sort of like a super-sized smartwatch screen. It has to work with the same kind of space limitations, even if there’s a little more expansiveness to play with. It doesn’t have a super-high resolution, but it’s fine for the kinds of jobs you’ll be asking Alexa to perform.

Viewing angles are pretty good, which is perfect if your bed is higher or lower than your bedside table, and touch response is excellent, so tapping in your Wi-Fi password doesn’t become a chore.

Of course, Alexa is a voice assistant, so the screen is just one part of the overall equation. But at least here, it feels a bit more purpose-driven.

FEATURES: TICK TOCK

FEATURES: TICK TOCK

Why? Because the Echo Spot is a clock. Left on default settings, it’ll cycle through some headlines, the weather, and any alerts you might have – but primarily, it’ll show you the time. And it’s very good at doing that.

You can choose between a handful of analog and digital face options, and even customize a clock face with a 1st mariner bank login (via the Amazon Alexa smartphone app). And at nighttime, it’ll automatically dim and simply show the time on a black backdrop.

You can also ask Alexa to set alarms and have her play music from your Amazon library to wake you up, plus she can set quick timers as needed. With the screen, you’ll also be able to watch videos at your bedside – but much like watching videos on a smartwatch, it’s not the most ideal experience.

It’s great for watching Amazon’s flash briefings, for example, which show you a quick news blast of the day’s top stories, because what you’re hearing is arguably more important than what it’s showing. Pulling up a movie trailer or watching Amazon Video content, on the other hand? Surely you’ve got several other gadgets for such a thing.

Given the circular dimensions, the widescreen Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer only filled about half of the display. You can tap to fill the screen, but then you’ve cropped off half of the video. It’ll do in a pinch, but if you’re buying a smart speaker with a screen, chances are good that you’re already packing some gadgets in your home – stick with your phone, tablet, laptop, or TV for any serious video needs.

Even with the screen, Alexa remains the most compelling part of the Echo Spot experience, and she works the same as she does on a standard Echo. Beyond requesting alarms and timers, you can ask for sports scores and movie times, stream music via Spotify and other services, create a grocery list, get the weather, control compatible smart home devices, and even hear a joke or a story. Games are easier to follow now, with Jeopardy displaying clues to each question.

Just like the Echo Show, however, the screen still doesn’t feel like an integral part of the Alexa experience. It’s nice to be able to flip through movie listings when you ask for times, see ingredients and instructions for recipes in the AllRecipes skill, and view the items you’re ordering from Amazon. And the smart home perks can be incredibly handy, especially pulling up a video feed from a connected camera.

But for the most part, Alexa still acts like an aural assistant first, and the visual benefits are small and used sparingly.

CALLING: BEDSIDE CHAT?

Video calling is the one big exception to that rule – assuming you’re cool with the idea of having a camera peering at your bed.

Wait, you’re not keen on that? Surprise, surprise. Thankfully, Amazon saw this hang-up coming from a mile away, and there’s a small button on the top of the Echo Spot that turns off the camera and microphones with a touch. Just like that. You’ll probably want to do that before disrobing, or spending a little quality time with your partner.

If you’d rather disable the camera permanently, you can do that within the settings. You won’t be able to use adaptive brightness, if so, but that’s a small trade-off for a sense of personal security.

As with the Echo Show, the Echo Spot can be used for video calls between Show and Spot devices, as well as with anyone using the Alexa iOS and Android apps. That’s handy for quick check-ins between rooms of your house, for example, or keeping tabs on family – especially if you bought a Show or Spot for a parent or relative. You can also do audio calls with non-screen Echo devices.

Given that it’s locked to Amazon’s ecosystem, you’re probably better off sticking with FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, or any other video chat platform of choice on your phone. But what’s here works well: the video is clear enough, and you can even see yourself in a small window on the small screen. If you’re laying in a bed or sitting at your desk and want to have a quick chat, it’s a useful option to have.

That said, Amazon’s ‘Drop In’ feature is still a bit unnerving. It lets any of your trusted contacts get a view into your space without you needing to press a button to accept the call, and you can do the same going the other way. When a call comes in the video feed is blurred for a few seconds, but otherwise you’d have to actively reject the call to stop it connecting.

Amazon says that it’s great for checking in on relatives or seeing what a small child or pet is up to when you’re elsewhere, but given that most people are likely to use the Echo Spot next to their bed, the idea of a friend or family member taking a glimpse could give you the heebie-jeebies.

We’ll pass on that, thanks. But it’s your call to make.

Audio: good enough

Audio: good enough

The Echo Spot isn’t packing big, booming sound – but that’s expected given its small, dense stature. Luckily, its 1.4in speaker is a fair bit more capable than the Echo Dot’s 0.6in speaker, although it lacks bass and the sound gets fuzzy if you go higher than halfway on the volume.

We wouldn’t recommend trying to fill your flat with music from the Echo Spot, but it’ll do fine for pumping a little music into a bedroom, office, or small apartment. Really, convenience is the name of the game with the Echo Spot. It’s perfect for calling up some tunes when you’re not near your hi-fi or more capable speakers in your home.

Having it on my bedside, I’ve found the Echo Spot useful for playing a little music while hanging with my son in his room across the hallway, since I normally might just play music through my phone’s speakers. The ability to call up tunes via Spotify or Amazon Music is great, with the artwork displayed on the screen, plus Amazon songs will scroll through lyrics while you listen.

Multi-room is onboard as well, letting you stream music to all the Echo devices in your house, or to specific groups of speakers at once. You have to set up these groups through the Alexa app, and can’t have a speaker in more than one group at a time – it’s a bit more restrictive than say, a Sonos One, but it gets the job done.

And it’s connectable, too. I use Bluetooth pairing to fling tracks from Apple Music on my iPhone X to the Echo Spot, although it sadly just shows a big Bluetooth icon on the screen instead of artwork. If you’d rather use some external speakers for better sound than what the Echo Spot can muster on its own, Amazon added a handy perk that even the pricier Echo Show lacks: a 3.5mm audio line-out port. You can use Bluetooth for that, too.

The Echo Spot has three fewer far-field microphones than the seven found in the Echo and Echo Dot, but it seemed just as effective in picking up my requests as any other Echo. Granted, I was usually much closer to the Echo Spot than I would be any other Echo, so you probably won’t have any issues getting Alexa’s attention. Background noise isn’t a problem, either, with the Spot detecting my speech over the amazon echo spot of a newby microwave, and over audio coming from my TV.

Amazon Echo Spot verdict

Amazon Echo Spot verdict

We’re still not 100% sold on a screen being a critical part of the Echo experience, but the Echo Spot feels significantly more focused and purpose-driven than the slightly aimless Echo Show – especially with a £80 difference in price.

The smaller sized screen feels more useful here, but it also doesn’t need to do as much to justify its presence. It’s an effective bedside clock and ideal for alarms, timers, or playing music, and while Alexa still doesn’t have a lot of critical skills that have visual components, that doesn’t sting here as much as it does with the larger, pricier Echo Show.

If you’re new to Alexa, you’re probably better off starting with the cheap Echo Dot or the baseline 2nd-generation Echo. But if you’re looking to add another Echo to your home, especially one away from your main living area, or you really think you’ll the most use from an Echo in your bedroom, then the Spot is well worth considering. It’s shipping today in the UK, directly from Amazon.

Источник: https://www.stuff.tv/review/amazon-echo-spot-review/

The Echo Spot is one of Amazon's most innovative Alexa devices — and it's on sale for $90 for Black Friday

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Echo Spot
Elaine Thompson/AP

Amazon's Echo Spot is in an unusual position in the Echo family. 

It has a screen, but not one big enough for serious video-watching. It's small, but not as small as the Echo Dot. It can play music, but it doesn't sound as good as the Echo or Echo Show. 

So, what is it for?

After I tested the Spot for several weeks, I'm still not really sure. At launch, the Echo Spot's primary purpose seemed to be acting as a smart alarm clock for your bedside table or nightstand. It can certainly do that, but it also seems a bit overqualified for the position. 

The Echo Spot has Alexa. It can make video calls, play music videos, make visual lists and reminders, and play music. And — of course — it can display the time. 

It does all the things a regular Echo can do, but it does them with a 2.5-inch touchscreen. 

Here's what it's like to use the Echo Spot. 

It looks incredibly nice, though! In fact, I think it's one of the best-looking Amazon Echo devices you can buy. The shape is ergonomic, the materials feel high-quality, and it's about the size of a softball: not too big, not too small.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

There's a camera above the screen, and you can use it to make video calls — just say, "Alexa, video call Jane," and it will call Jane. Even the software design on the Spot is modern and clean, as evidenced by the calling interface.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

Video calling is fun and feels a little futuristic, thanks to the round screen. It's rare to see any video displayed that way, which makes the Spot feel refreshingly modern.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

But, the round screen is where the device also fails sometimes. Text isn't always designed to fit in a round frame, so it looks pretty strange when displayed on the Echo Spot. Luckily, it's a touchscreen, so you can manually scroll down to read the full paragraph.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

Lists aren't optimized for the Spot's display either, so by the third item, everything starts to get cut off.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

Here's a moment from my morning news briefing. A video briefing is one of the advantages of the Spot — it's like having a tiny TV next to your bed — but the size is also sometimes a shortcoming of the device. Here, you can barely make out the White House. What's the point?

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

But the Echo Spot somewhat redeemed itself in the end. At first, I thought it was incredibly pointless to watch a music video on the Spot. How would I even be able to see Beyoncé on this thing? Plus, the square Vevo app — remember, no YouTube videos on Amazon devices — looks terrible.

Echo Spot
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

But then I enabled full-screen mode, and here was Beyoncé in all her glory, albeit miniaturized. Sure, the full width of the video gets cut off on the round screen, but feeling like I was on a video call with Bey was worth it.

Echo Spot
first united mortgage login Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

The Echo Spot may be a mysterious little device, but it can do all the things a regular Echo or Echo Dot can do, with the sometimes added bonus of being able to use a screen.

The Spot is also a great deal for Black Friday. While it usually costs $130, it's on sale for $89.99, or a savings of $40.

And if you're thinking of getting one for yourself and one as a gift, Amazon is offering two Echo Spots for $159.98, or a savings of $100. 

You can learn more about the Spot or buy one for yourselfon Amazon. 

More:Features
Источник: https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-echo-spot-review-2018-2

Amazon Echo Spot Review: Alexa’s cutest container

Of all Alexa’s various enclosures, the Amazon Echo Spot is undoubtedly the cutest. Its body is spherical – larger than a baseball, but much smaller than an Echo Show – and fronted with a 2.5-inch circular touchscreen. That’s a display shape still rare enough to make the whole thing eye-catching; question is, has Amazon done enough to make the Echo Spot more than just that gimmick?

On top there are four microphones and three buttons: volume up and down, and a microphone/camera mute. Press the latter and, not only can’t Alexa hear you, but the video camera nestling above the display is turned off too. Alternatively, you can turn the camera off separately with a voice command, meaning video calls are deactivated but you can still ask the virtual assistant questions.

Setup is straightforward, and unlike a voice-only Echo can be completed entirely from the Echo Spot itself. Once you’ve typed your WiFi password and Amazon account details in, using the small but functional on-screen keyboard, the smart speaker works just like an Echo Show does. You can customize the settings in the Alexa app, such as setting the precise location, as well as turn on Drop-In video calling.

However, changing the clock – there are various analog and digital options – and other basics can all be done through the touchscreen itself. Once you’ve set up any smart home devices, such as connected lights, you can control them by voice. A 3.5mm aux-out connection on the back allows first national bank severna park to hook Echo Spot up to larger speakers, but there’s also Bluetooth to pair a wireless speaker if you’d prefer.

Interestingly, the Echo Spot actually supports Bluetooth audio streaming in both directions. For instance, you can pair your smartphone with it, and play back music through the Echo Spot’s own speakers. That’s useful, though with a single 1.4-inch speaker it’s hardly going to win awards for audio quality. It sounds better than an Echo Dot (a fairly low bar, it has to be said) but lacks the volume and low-end support that you can find in varying quantities in the rest of the range.

So where does Echo Spot fit in Amazon’s Alexa line-up?

Amazon already has an Echo with a display: the Echo Show, launched earlier this year. In a sense, the Echo Spot is to the Echo Show as the Echo Dot is to the Echo. The core functionality, distilled down into a smaller, more affordable device.

That’s all well and good, but whereas the Echo Dot is currently selling for thirty bucks – less than half the price of the second-generation Echo – the Echo Spot is $129.99. In contrast, Amazon will sell you an Echo Show for $149.99. For that, you miss out on the cutesy design but get a far larger, 7-inch touchscreen and much better speakers.

Which screen-blessed flavor of Alexa you go for, then, depends on where you plan to put it. Arguably the natural place for Echo Spot amazon coupon code for books the bedside nightstand. There, it could replace an alarm clock – you can ask for alarms to wake you with a specific artist or track, courtesy of a recent update – as well as allow you to turn off all the smart home devices in one fell swoop, and give you a rundown of the news in the morning.

Of course, for that to work you also need to be comfortable with always-on microphones and a camera watching you while you’re in bed, something that turned out to be a deal-breaker to my partner. So, Echo Spot ended up on the kitchen counter instead.

What works well

Being able to get recipes read out, you music playback controlled by voice, and have impromptu conversions of weights and measures is still incredibly useful. The smaller screen size, not to mention its shape, does limit what can be shown on-screen at any one time, however. I found myself saying “Alexa, show me more,” a whole lot more frequently than I do with the Echo Show. Alternatively you can scroll with a finger on the touchscreen itself, but that’s not much use when your hands are wet or covered in food.

I also found myself using Drop-In more. Amazon’s video calling system allows you to have video chats either between Echo Show and Echo Spot devices within the home, or with any other contact elsewhere. It takes a little effort to turn on – sensibly it’s off by default; you have to both enable each individual Drop-In capable device, and your own account, before it’ll work – but after that I was able to use it as a home intercom.

“Alexa, drop in on the white Echo Spot,” for instance, would automatically call through to the other room. There’s no need to manually “answer” that call: it just starts automatically. Amazon fades the video in slowly from white, giving you a chance to shut the whole thing down if the timing isn’t right. During the chat, there’s a small thumbnail showing what your own camera is seeing.

If you don’t have another video-capable Echo, you can do Drop-In video calls from the Alexa smartphone app. Alternatively, you can make free voice calls to any other Echo, or to phone numbers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Teach Alexa the difference between each user’s voice in the home, and she can automatically recognize that if you say “Alexa, call mom” it’s a different contact to somebody else’s mother.

As for music, while there’s support for Spotify, Pandora, and more, if you use Amazon’s own services you’ll get on-screen lyrics synchronized to playback. A recent update brought multi-room music too, allowing multiple Echo speakers to be grouped together. If you have a Sonos system, you can control its playback using the Echo Spot. amazon echo spot

What could be better

The most frustrating thing about Echo Spot and Echo Show ownership right now is the ongoing spat between Amazon and Google. That has seen YouTube pulled from the smart speakers, though it’s arguably less of a loss for the Echo Spot than its larger sibling.

Video playback supports three levels of zoom. Since you’re trying to fit a rectangular clip onto a circular display, the choice comes down to whether you want to fill the screen up and sacrifice what’s going on around the edges, or see more of the frame but occupy less of the Echo Spot’s screen.

I found it more useful, in fact, for checking the stream from various security cameras I have installed. “Alexa, show me the Cloud Cam” brings up a stream from Amazon’s WiFi camera, for example. Unfortunately you still only get a live view: there’s no way to go back through previous recordings.

Wrap-up

One of the strengths of Amazon’s cloud-based assistant is that the Echo Spot arrives and promptly takes advantage of all the advances Alexa has made over the past few years. That means plenty of smart home skills, third-party games, media services, and more. There’s a huge amount to experiment with out of the box, and Amazon has demonstrated a rapid pace when it comes to rolling out new features and updates.

Of course, it also means that the only thing really setting the Echo Spot apart is its size and unusual screen shape. The bigger Echo Show lacks its spherical sibling’s 3.5mm jack, but other than that you’re getting all the same functionality. When it was selling for $230 that was a big price differential in the Echo Spot’s favor; with the current $20 delta, it’s harder to justify.

I like the Echo Spot for its size and charm, but there’s no denying that in Alexa’s world many skills haven’t yet caught up with a rectangular display, never mind adapting to suit a circular one. For many, the cheapest Echo Dot is still going to satisfy 90-percent of what they want from Alexa, or thereabouts. Video calling is nice, but it’s also already offered on the phone in your pocket, the laptop on your desk, or the tablet on your coffee table.

At $130, then, the Echo Spot still feels like a luxury, at least until Amazon restores the Echo Show to something close to its regular price. The absence of YouTube support – whoever’s fault that might be – rankles, too. Alexa’s usefulness continues unabated, but the current affordability of the Echo Show eats into the Echo Spot’s appeal, while the Echo Dot remains the best bang-for-buck for new adopters.


Источник: https://www.slashgear.com/amazon-echo-spot-review-alexas-cutest-container-18512089/

Amazon echo spot -

Amazon Echo Spot

First announced in 2017, Amazon's Echo Spot is still one of the most interesting Echo speakers we've ever tested, but sadly it's unavailable from Amazon at the time of writing. We're not sure yet if that means it's been discontinued, but it seems highly likely. In the meantime, if you're looking for a dinky Alexa-powered smart display we'd recommend the similarly diminutive Echo Show 5. Alternatively, refer to our best smart speakers roundup to see our pick of the very best smart speakers of all shapes and sizes.

Original review continues below:

Amazon Echo Spot review: What you need to know

What is the Echo Spot? It’s Amazon’s latest smart speaker. It comes with a touchscreen like the Echo Show but it’s more compact and a lot more attractive. Amazon pitches it as an Alexa-enabled alarm clock but it’s also capable of making video and voice calls and lets you watch video, although not via YouTube thanks to the firm’s recent spat with Google.

Otherwise, the Spot has all the powers of the other Echo devices, meaning you can control your smart home with your voice, ask it to tell you jokes, get updates about the weather and stream music via Spotify or Amazon Music.

Amazon Echo Spot review: Price and competition

Available for £120 in either Black or White the Echo Spot can also be purchased as a twin pack for £200, at a total saving of £40.

As for its rivals, there’s Amazon’s own suite of Alexa-powered smart speakers to contend with, including the dirt-cheap Echo Dot (£50) the all-new Amazon Echo 2 (£90) and the Echo Show, which has a larger 7.5in touchscreen and better sound quality for £200.

Amazon Echo Spot review: Design and features

The main appeal of the Echo Spot compared with its larger sibling, the Echo Show, apart from the lower price, is its size and the way it looks. It’s spherical in shape and about the size of a softball, with a portion of the bottom sliced off so you can stand it on a flat surface and a section of the front cleaved away and replaced with a circular 2.5in, 480 x 480 resolution touchscreen and VGA camera.

It’s like a grown-up Echo Dot and the perfect size to use on your desk as a smart speakerphone-cum-intercom. You can even use it, as Amazon suggests, as a voice-driven alarm clock but you’ll need to make sure you mute the microphone and camera when you go to bed to avoid your contacts dropping in on you at awkward moments. Fortunately, just like the Echo Show, the Spot has a mute button on top to do just that and a do not disturb mode to prevent intrusions while you sleep.

Otherwise, the Spot is ideally suited to the role of smart alarm clock. When you’re not asking it questions or carrying out video calls it shows a nice-looking clock face on the front, with 17 different styles to choose from and, when you wake up, the display scrolls through a series of news snippets you can ask it for more details about.

And you can set an alarm to wake you with a regular alarm tone or your choice of music or radio station. Beware, though: there’s no way of telling if Alexa has figured out your request exactly, so be prepared for an early morning shock as she tries to wake you up with a blast of punk rock when all you wanted was the calming sound of waves lapping the shore to ease you into Monday morning.

Does the circular touchscreen add to the Alexa experience otherwise? Well, much like the Echo Show, it displays stuff on the screen and allows you to interact with all sorts of things with the power of your index finger. You can access all of your device settings such as display brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as watch the occasional movie or TV show via Amazon Prime Video.

Likewise, you can make and receive video and audio calls as well as view Amazon’s flash cards when you ask Alexa a question or receive song lyrics whenever you play your favourite tunes.

The Spot also works well with a long list of smart home devices, from smart bulbs to thermostats and its screen means it’s particularly well-suited to smart security cameras, like the Nest IQ cam, which you can bring up the feed for with a simple voice command.

Echo Spot review: Sound quality and microphone

Okay, everything’s tickety-boo for the Echo Spot so far, but there’s one crucial and disappointingly negative aspect: sound quality. Despite replicating the Echo Show for features and smart speaker capabilities, the Spot comes nowhere near it for sound quality.

It isn’t as thin or as scratchy sounding as the Echo Dot - the Spot is more full-bodied than that - and it’s perfectly fine for catching up on the news headlines or your favourite podcasts. When it comes to music, though, there’s simply not enough bottom end or warmth to do your favourite tunes justice and it doesn’t go very loud either.

Set up in my moderately sized kitchen I often found that even turning up the volume to its highest level wasn’t enough to raise it above the background of the extractor fan or the kettle boiling. It’s worth noting, though, that you can hook the Echo Spot up to an external speaker via the 3.5mm aux out or via Bluetooth for a fuller, more engaging sound.

That’s a pity but it won’t alarm you to hear that the Spot employs the same excellent far-field microphone technology as its other Echo-powered siblings. There are four microphones here instead of the seven you get on the regular Echo 2 and Echo Plus but they’re just as effective at picking up commands from both near and far and against quite noisy backgrounds.

Amazon Echo Spot: Verdict

The Amazon Echo Spot is easily one of the more interesting Alexa-powered devices Amazon has released recently. It’s far better equipped to blend into your home’s decor than the Echo Show and the circular touchscreen adds valuable extra features.

The one fly in the ointment - and it’s a pretty major one - is the price. At £120, it’s £40 more than twice as pricey as an Echo Dot, £40 more than the Echo 2 and only £30 less than the all-singing, all-dancing smart-hub capable Echo Plus. That makes it one hell of an expensive alarm clock.

Alternatives to consider:

Источник: https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/amazon/amazon-echo-spot

Why I’ll never give up my Echo Spot

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By Carrie Skinner last updated

Opinion: Amazon's smallest smart display is also its best

When it comes to Amazon Echo smart speakers, there’s plenty of choice. From the discreet Echo Dot to the booming Echo Studio and the Echo Show with its built-in display, it seems like there’s an Amazon smart speaker for everyone.

For me, the Echo Spot remains my favourite Amazon smart speaker. Launched in late 2017, it was the second Amazon smart speaker to feature a screen. However, unlike the Echo Show, it had a spherical design with a petite 2.5-inch display. 

Amazon branded the device a ‘smart alarm clock’ claiming it was best suited on a bedside tablet, but considering it also included a 0.3MP camera and boasted of the 'drop-ins' feature where others with Echo speakers could start a video call with you in seconds, some found it to be a little creepy 

The Echo Spot is my favourite Echo device of all time. In fact, even though I have several smart speakers in my home, it's the one I use most. Here's why I think it's the best compact smart display Amazon has made to date.

Kitchen companion

I’ll be honest, my Echo Spot has never been near my bedroom. Instead, it resides in the kitchen as it really is the perfect smart companion when I’m preparing food.

First off, its compact size and shape means it fits perfectly on my kitchen windowsill. Yes, the Echo Show 5 also fits in the same spot, but the Echo Spot wins here thanks to its plastic casing. I can simply wipe it clean, ensuring its sleek look isn’t ruined by a splash of tomato sauce. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for the Echo Show 5's fabric covering, which may look good but certainly doesn't survive spills. 

The Echo Show 5 may have five microphones, compared to four on the Echo spot, but the spherical design of the Spot means the microphones can be placed further apart making its ability to pick up my voice much better. No matter where I am in the kitchen, whether the exactor fan is running at full pelt or the washing machine is in it’s fastest spin cycle, the Echo Spot can pick up my voice. I found the Echo Show 5 frustrating to use in the kitchen, as I end up getting more and more irritated, and my voice rising several decibels each time Alexa misheard me, or worse didn’t acknowledge me at all.

Small but perfectly formed

At 2.5-inches, I’ll admit the Echo Spot's display is small, but it’s perfect for use in the kitchen. If I’m following a recipe, I can quickly glance at the screen to see the step if I want more than just Alexa’s audible guidance. 

Similarly, when I ask “How long left on the timer” not only does Alexa tell me, she’ll also show me (and she’ll do it for every timer I have set). This information fits perfectly on the small display. I’ve no plans to watch music videos or TV clips while I’m cooking, so a bigger screen is a waste.

There is one small issue with the Echo Spot - the price. It’s £119.99 / $160 / AU$ 210, and the lowest it’s been discounted to is £79.99 / $110 / AU$140, which is also the list price as the Echo Show 5. However, the Echo Show 5 has been as low as £39.99 / $55 / AU$70 during Black Friday 2020 and is currently selling for £59.99 / $80 / AU$105. That makes it an expensive device to covert.

Sadly, two years after it's launch Amazon quietly discontinued the Echo Spot in most regions except the UK, where it’s still on sale today, although it doesn’t appear in the line-up of Echo devices at the top of Amazon's homepage - you’ll have to search for it instead.

However for me, it's hard to envisage anything more perfect for me and the way I use Alexa than the Echo Spot, so I won’t be giving it up any time soon.  

Carrie-Ann Skinner is Smart Home & Appliances Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, and blenders. When she’s not discovering the next must-have gadget for the home, Carrie can be found cooking up a storm in her kitchen, and is particularly passionate about baking, often rustling up tasty cakes and bread. 

Источник: https://www.techradar.com/news/why-ill-never-give-up-my-echo-spot

Amazon Echo

Voice command device from Amazon.com

Amazon Echo, often shortened to Echo, is an American brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which will respond when a user says "Alexa". Users may change this wake word to "Amazon", "Echo", or "Computer".[1][2] The features of the device include voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, and playing audiobooks, in addition to providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. The smart speaker needs to use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet as there is no Ethernet port.

Amazon started developing Echo devices inside its Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and in Cambridge, Massachusetts as early as 2010. The device represented one of first attempts to expand its device portfolio beyond the Kindlee-reader.[3]

Amazon initially limited the first-generation Echo to Amazon Prime members or just by invitation, but it became widely available in the United States in mid 2015,[4] and subsequently in other countries. Additionally, the Alexa voice service is available to be added to other devices, and Amazon encourages other companies' devices and services to connect to it.[5]

History[edit]

The first-generation Amazon Echo

Work on the Amazon Echo began in 2011, known as "Project D". It was named this because the Kindle was Project A and the Fire Phone was Project B. The Amazon Echo was an offshoot of Project C. Project C is unknown, even though the work on it has stopped. The Amazon Echo was originally supposed to be called the Amazon Flash. The wake word, the word that makes the device responsive, for the Echo used to be "Amazon". Both of these attributes were disliked by Lab126, the division of Amazon that conducts research and development and creates computer hardware. Lab126 believed that "Amazon" is too much of a commonly used word, and the device would react when it was not intended to. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, ended up being influenced by Lab126 to change the name of the device to the Amazon Echo and the wake word to "Alexa".[6] The Amazon Echo was originally pitched as only a smart speaker, it was not originally intended to be a smart home hub, as it is now, until after it was launched. As Alexa, the artificial intelligence (A.I.) that powers the Amazon Echo, improved, the device became more of a controlling center for smart home appliances. Dave Isbitski, the chief developer evangelist for the Echo and Alexa, received calls from smart home manufacturers to discuss connecting their devices, after the release of the Amazon Echo. But smart home devices had a problem: people were not buying smart home devices because they often required an extra app in order to be used, which was not much better than just using the device manually.[7]

The Amazon Echo (1st Generation) was initially released in March 2014 for Amazon Prime and invited members, and was marketed alongside the voice of the product, Alexa. Alexa is a voice associated with the Amazon Echo that will respond to questions and requests through artificial intelligence. Amazon has claimed that the voice of Alexa was inspired by electronic communications systems featured in the television series Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.[8]

Amazon developers chose the name Alexa because the X in the end of the name makes the word appear symmetric and appealing, and the hard consonant sound makes the product name more easily remembered with more accuracy and precision.[citation needed]

Shortly after the Amazon Echo release, Amazon announced Alexa Fund in June 2015, in which they invested in companies that made voice control devices. This fund ended up investing over $100 million in several companies that made products like the Amazon Echo.[citation needed]

Since the release of the Amazon Echo in early 2014 the company, Amazon, has developed many similar devices that they have released into the artificial intelligence and technological markets.

The Echo featured prominently in Amazon's first Super Bowl broadcast television advertisement in 2016.[9]

In March 2016 Amazon released a byproduct of the Amazon Echo, called the Amazon Echo Dot. This device is an ice hockey puck sized version of the original Amazon Echo released in 2014, and it has the same capabilities. This product was designed to be used in smaller rooms such as bedrooms due to its limited speaker capabilities (size) or to be paired with an external speaker. In November 2016 the second generation of the Echo Dot was released for a lower price with improved voice recognition and new colors.

The second generation of the Amazon Echo was released in October 2017. This update offered better voice recognition and a fabric covering exterior. Subsequently, other variants of the Amazon Echo have been released.

In May 2017 Amazon released the now-discontinued Amazon Tap, a portable, slightly smaller version of the Amazon Echo. Although the two products are similar the Tap is battery powered, portable, and requires the touch of a button in order to enable voice commands.

In April 2017 the Amazon Echo Look was released to invitees only, as an Amazon Echo with a built in camera. It was designed as a speaker, that is also handy with artificial intelligence that has smart algorithms to help users pick out outfits. It was released to the general public in August 2018.

In June 2018 the Amazon Echo Show was released to the public as a device with a 7-inch screen used for streaming media, making video calls and the use of Alexa. The second generation of the device was made available in November 2018 and features a 10-inch screen with improved speakers.

Features[edit]

A microphone (center) and two LEDs (left and right) inside an Echo Dot
The Echo contains several microphones (here: an array of seven microphones inside an Echo Dot, with six of them arranged in a circle alternating with LEDs)
A loudspeaker inside an Echo Dot

See also: Amazon Alexa

Overview of operation[edit]

In the default mode, the device continuously listens to all speech, monitoring for the wake word to be spoken, which is primarily set up as "Alexa" (derived from Alexa Internet, the Amazon-owned Internet indexing company). Echo's microphones can be manually disabled by pressing a mute button to turn off the audio processing circuit.[3]

Echo devices require a wireless Internet connection in order to work. Echo's voice recognition capability is based on Amazon Web Services and the voice platform Amazon acquired from Yap,[10]Evi, and IVONA[11] (a Polish-based specialist in voice technologies used in the Kindle Fire).[12]

The smart speakers perform well with a "good" (low-latency) Internet connection, which minimizes processing time due to minimal communication round trips, streaming responses and geo-distributed service endpoints. While the application is free, an Amazon account is required, and setup is not possible without one.

Available services[edit]

Echo devices offer weather from AccuWeather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, BBC, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn.[13] Echo can play music from the owner's Amazon Music accounts[14] and has built-in support for other streaming music services like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and Sirius XM among others,[15] and has support for IFTTT and Nest thermostats.[16] Echo can also play music from non-compatible music streaming services such as Google Play Music from a phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Echo maintains voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping and to-do lists and can access Wikipedia articles. Echo will respond to questions about items in one's Google Calendar. It also integrates with Yonomi,[17]Philips Hue, Belkin Wemo, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.[18][19] Additionally, integration with the Echo is in the works for Countertop by Orange Chef, Sonos,[20] Scout Alarm, Garageio, Toymail, MARA, and Mojio.[21] Questions like "Who is Barack Obama?" are answered by reading the first few lines of the corresponding Wikipedia article.[22]

Echo devices also have access to "skills" built with the Alexa Skills Kit. These are third-party-developed voice applications that add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo). Examples of skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm, order a pizza or a ridesharing car (e.g., Uber, Lyft), and more. Skills are continuously being added to increase the capabilities available to the user. For example, one new skill that Alexa has learned is the ability to play "games" with users. One such game is "Escape the Garage" in which the user must correctly answer questions that Alexa asks, while figuring out a way to escape. The Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service application programming interfaces (API), tools, documentation and code samples that make it fast and easy for any developer to add skills to Alexa. Developers can also use the "Smart Home Skill API",[23] a new addition to the Alexa Skills Kit, to easily teach Alexa how to control cloud-controlled lighting and thermostat devices. All of the code runs in the cloud and nothing is on any user device. A developer can follow tutorials to learn how to quickly build voice-response capability for their new and existing applications.[24]

In November 2018, a major new feature was launched that will allow users to make Skype calls. Every past and present Echo device will be able to dial a number via Skype. Echo devices that have a display will offer full video Skype capability.[25]

In May 2019, Amazon released Alexa Guard. If "Away mode" is enabled, if an Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking, it will send alerts to the Alexa app on smartphones. If the user has professional monitoring, it can send alerts directly to the security provider. It can also switch smart lights on and off to make it look like someone is home. Amazon also offers Guard Plus, this paid for option enables other features such as playing the sound of a dog barking when an intruder is detected.[26]

Voice Services[edit]

The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) allows developers to voice-enable connected products with a microphone and speaker. The AVS enables volume control, audio playback, and speech recognition.[27] The devices have natural lifelike voices resulting from speech-unit technology.[28][additional citation(s) needed] High speech accuracy is achieved through sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) algorithms built into the Echo's text-to-speech (TTS) engine.[citation needed]

Software updates[edit]

As with all Alexa devices, the functionality of Echo smart speakers periodically evolves as Amazon releases new software for it. Most new releases fix bugs in addition to including enhanced functionality. New releases are pushed to the devices on a gradual basis so it may take several days to a week or more for a particular device to be updated. Because much of Echo's intelligence lies in the cloud, significant functional enhancements can be made to Echo without updating the software version it is running. For example, in April 2015, the Echo added the ability to give live sports scores without updating the software version running on the device.[29]

Smart Home[edit]

The Amazon Echo is able to connect to many different smart home devices. Thermostats, humidifiers, lightbulbs, plugs, dog and cat feeder, door locks, cameras, thermostats, security systems, speakers, WiFi, televisions, vacuums, microwaves, printers, and other smart home devices can now all be controlled through Alexa. Alexa can be used to activate and deactivate all of these smart home appliances, as well as change their settings depending on the device. For example, Alexa can be used to change the temperature in a house through a thermostat, turn off the lights with smart lights, put out dog or cat food via a smart pet feeder, and activate the security systems via a smart security system. The user is able organize these smart home devices by putting them into groups. For example, a user can make a "Music Group" on the Amazon Echo.[30] The Amazon Echo will be able to play music and other media in multiple rooms in a house through other Echos and speakers that are in the "Music Group". Along with multiple groups, an Amazon Echo can hold multiple profiles. Switching between the profiles can allow users to play their music, access their calendars, and use their accounts for shopping, instead of just using one person's.[31]

Hands-free[edit]

Amazon Echos are able to make calls and send messages. Users can make calls to another Amazon Echo or speaker that is in the house by calling the device name. Users can also make calls and send messages to other people that have an Amazon Echo. This is done by connecting the user's contacts to the Amazon Echo. The user's Amazon Echo will call their contact's Amazon Echo. They will be able to have a conversation using the Amazon Echos. Messages will go to the contact's phone, in the Alexa App. The message can also be played on the Echo.[31]

Variants[edit]

Echo[edit]

Amazon Echo unpacked (15978606333).jpg

Amazon Echo unpacked, January 2015

Release date
  • November 6, 2014 (2014-11-06)(Amazon Prime and invited members)
  • June 23, 2015 (2015-06-23)(released in the U.S.)
  • September 28, 2016 (2016-09-28)(released in the U.K.)
  • October 26, 2016 (2016-10-26)(released in Germany)
Introductory priceUS$179.99
GB£149.99
EUR€179.99
ConnectivityWi-Fi and Bluetooth
WebsiteAmazon Echo (US)
Amazon Echo (UK)
Amazon Echo (Germany)

The first-generation Amazon Echo consists of a 9.25 inch (23.5 cm) tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array.[3] The Echo hardware complement includes a Texas Instruments DM3725 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 256MB of LPDDR1 RAM and 4GB of storage space.[32] As of July 2017[update], the first-generation Echo maintained an 83% score on GearCaliber, a review aggregator.[33]

Although the Echo is intended to be voice-controlled at the unit, a microphone-enabled remote control similar to the one bundled with the Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase. The remote was also bundled with early units. An action button on top of the unit is provided for user setup in a new location, and the mute button allows the microphones to be turned off.[34] The top half-inch of the unit rotates to increase or decrease the speaker volume. The Echo must be plugged in to operate since it has no internal battery.[35]

Echo provides dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices.[36]

The mainline Linux kernel is able to boot the Amazon Echo since version 5.6.[37]

In September 2020, the 4th gen Echo was announced replacing the Echo and Echo Plus devices in a new spherical form-factor. The Echo brings the Echo Plus' Zigbee smart home hub with support for Amazon Sidewalk.[38][39]

Limited editions[edit]

As part of a holiday promotion, Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch drove the Treasure Truck around Seattle in December 2016 selling a limited-edition beast-mode Echo with a custom skin.[40] The beast-mode version was a first-generation Echo that responded to a user's commands with Marshawn Lynch's voice, instead of the Alexa voice.[41]

In November 2017, a Product Red version of the second-generation Echo was announced as a limited edition item.[42]

Another special version of Echo is the Alexa Super Skills Collectible edition, which was given to select Amazon Alexa developers who published five skills between July 22 and October 30, 2017. This special variant comes with a white mask, a blue cape, and a blue belt.[citation needed]

Availability[edit]

Amazon initially limited the first-generation Echo to Amazon Prime members or just by invitation, but it became widely available in the United States in mid 2015. [43] In 2016, the Echo became available in the United Kingdom and Germany.[44]

As of November 2018[update], the Echo was available in 40 countries:[citation needed]Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay.

In 2018, Amazon and Microsoft jointly announced a solution to integrate their digital assistants so that Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, could be called from an Amazon Echo device and Alexa could be called from Windows devices, including PCs. In January 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Cortana would no longer be a platform competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant, but rather a voice skill to access Microsoft 365 via other voice assistants.[citation needed] As of April 2019, Alexa was the only Cortana-integrated voice assistant, which gave it exclusive access to Microsoft’s suite of business applications.

Echo Dot[edit]

The black Amazon Echo Dot (second generation) sitting idle on a wood surface

1st Gen[edit]

In March 2016, Amazon unveiled the original Amazon Echo Dot,[45] which is a hockey puck-sized version of the Echo designed to be connected to external speakers due to the smaller size of the onboard speakers, or to be used in rooms such as the bedroom as an alternative to the full-sized Echo. Beyond these distinctions, the Amazon Echo Dot possesses the same functions as the original Amazon Echo.[46]

External third-party portable batteries[47] are available for the Dot.

2nd Gen[edit]

The second generation of the Amazon Echo Dot became available on October 20, 2016. It is priced lower, has improved voice recognition, and is available in black, grey and white. The Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) technology allows several Echo and Dot units to work together so that only one device answers the request.[citation needed] As of November 2017[update], the Echo Dot maintained a 78% score on GearCaliber, based on 23 reviews.[48]

On August 18, 2017, an Amazon promotion allowed Amazon Prime customers to receive a 100% price reduction on the Echo Dot (from $49.99 to $0.00). Amazon never commented on the promotion or gave any indication of how many Dots were given away.[49]

3rd Gen[edit]

In September 2018, an updated Echo Dot (3rd gen) was unveiled with a fabric covering.[50]

In January 2019, Amazon's SVP of devices and services, Dave Limp, revealed that over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices had been sold. The company's earnings reports and press releases also reveal that the Echo Dot has been among the top-selling products on Amazon.com for 2017 and 2018.[citation needed]

In July 2021, Amazon ran a promotion to give a price discount on the Echo Dot, reducing the price from $39.99 to $4.99 with a coupon code.

4th Gen[edit]

In September 2020, the fourth generation Echo Dot was revealed with a new spherical design and 30% smaller compared to the 3rd gen Echo.[38][51]

Amazon Tap[edit]

The Amazon Tap is a smaller portable version of the Echo.[52] The Tap can do the many things the Echo can do; however, as it is battery-powered, it is also portable.[53] Initially, the user had to press an activation button on the front of the Tap to speak commands. However, a February 2017 software update allows the option of activating the Tap with an activation word, just like the Echo and the Dot.[54] Some of the limitations of the Tap include not being able to stream music as part of a group and not being able to send announcements to the device. Additionally the Tap does not support "Drop In" feature and as a result cannot be used for two-way voice communication. Amazon has discontinued the Tap. This has encouraged 3rd party accessory manufacturers to make available battery add-on units for other Echo products.[55]

Echo Look[edit]

In April 2017, the Amazon Echo Look was introduced as a camera with Alexa built-in, for US$20 more than the first-generation Echo.[56] The device can provide artificial intelligence outfit recommendations, take photos, and record videos; in addition to the features available on the Echo.[57] It offers Amazon Alexa's key feature plus a camera to take full-length photos and 360-degree videos with built-in AI for fashion advice.[58][59] As a consumer product, it helps catalog users' outfits and rates their looks based on "machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists.[60]

The device was initially only available for purchase by invitation-only in the U.S.[61] However, it became generally available on 6 June 2018.[62] Three years later, Echo Look owners received an email from Amazon stating that the device would soon stop working, because Amazon was discontinuing production and sales of the device. Echo Look owners had a device that they could not use.[63]

Echo Show[edit]

Main article: Amazon Echo Show

In May 2017, Amazon introduced the Echo Show, which features a tactile 7-inch liquid-crystal display screen that can be used for playing media, making video calls (5 MP front camera), and other features.[64] The Echo Show was offered for purchase at a price of $229.99 on June 28, 2017 and was initially only available in the U.S.[65]

A second generation of the Echo Show was unveiled at an Alexa-themed product event by Amazon on September 20, 2018 for release the following month.[66] The new device has a 10-inch touchscreen, improved speakers, and mesh casing.[67] Amazon has released two additional sizes of the Echo Show making them available in both 5- and 8-inch displays. These devices broke the traditional naming mechanism of naming strictly on generation. They are known as the Echo show 5 and Echo Show 8. [68] As of 2021, Amazon announced an Echo Show 15 at their “Introducing the latest products and services” event with a 15 inch display.[citation needed]

Echo Spot[edit]

On 27 September 2017, Amazon launched the Echo Spot, a hemispherical device that has the same functions as an Echo Show.[69] The device has a 2.5-inch circular screen, and looks like an alarm clock. The device sold for $129.99.[70] The Echo Spot has been discontinued in all regions except the UK.

Echo Plus[edit]

On 27 September 2017, Amazon announced the Echo Plus, which released on 31 October 2017. It shares design similarities with the first-generation Echo, but also doubles as a smart home hub, connecting to most common wireless protocols to control connected smart devices within a home.[71] It incorporates seven second-generation far field microphones and noise cancellation, while also supporting Dolby Sound.

In September 2018, a second-generation Echo Plus was released. The new version has a fabric covering and includes an embedded temperature sensor.[72] The Echo Plus has since been discontinued in 2020.

Echo Flex[edit]

On 14 November 2019, Amazon released the Echo Flex for $24.99. It is a small device with a speaker that can be plugged directly into a wall outlet. It has a full-sized USB Type-A port into the bottom to charge other devices or into which additional accessories, such as a motion sensor, can be plugged.[73]

Speakerless devices[edit]

At an Alexa-themed product launch event in September 2018, Amazon announced an Echo device designed for cars.[74] The device connects with the user's smartphone over Bluetooth and offers driving direction, in addition to other Alexa functionality.[75]Echo Auto became available as an invite-only product to US customers near the end of 2018.[76]

The Echo Input is an Alexa input device with no on-board speakers.[77] It must be connected to external speakers for audio output. The Echo Link is a higher-end version of the Echo Input, with additional output ports and a volume knob.[78] The Echo Link Amp has the same controls of the Link, but with an amplifier.

Accessories[edit]

Along with the second-generation Echo, Amazon announced two new accessories. The Echo Buttons can be used while playing games on Echo devices, such as Jeopardy!.[79] The Echo Connect is a small adapter that plugs into any Echo and a home phone line, allowing the Echo to make voice calls through a home phone number.[80]

In September 2018, Amazon announced the Echo Sub, a subwoofer that connects to other Echo speakers, and the Echo Wall Clock, which can display how much time is remaining on timers set with an Echo device.[81]

Wearables[edit]

Amazon announced the Echo Loop in September 2019, a smart ring with a button that activates Alexa. The Echo Loop uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone for Internet access.[82] The Echo Framessmartglasses, which support prescription lenses, were also announced on the same day.[83]

Privacy concerns[edit]

There are concerns about the access Echo has to private conversations in the home, or other non-verbal indications that can identify who is present in the home and who is not—based on audible cues such as footstep cadence or radio and television programming.[84][85] Amazon responds to these concerns by stating that Echo only streams recordings from the user's home when the "wake word" activates the device, though the device is technically capable of streaming voice recordings at all times, and in fact will always be listening to detect if a user has uttered the word.

Echo uses past voice recordings the user has sent to the cloud service to improve response to future questions the user may pose. To address privacy concerns, the user can delete voice recordings that are currently associated with the user's account, but doing so may degrade the user's experience using voice search. To delete these recordings, the user can visit the "Manage My Device" page on Amazon.com or contact Amazon customer service. In May 2018, it was reported that an Echo device had sent a recorded conversation to an acquaintance of a user who did not intend for this to happen. Amazon apologized and conjectured that one part of the conversation had been misinterpreted as a command to distribute it.[86]

Echo uses an address set in the Alexa companion app when it needs a location.[87] Amazon and third-party apps and websites use location information to provide location-based services and store this information to provide voice services, the Maps app, Find Your Device, and to monitor the performance and accuracy of location services. For example, Echo voice services use the user's location to respond to the user's requests for nearby restaurants or stores. Similarly, Echo uses the user's location to process the user's mapping-related requests and improve the Maps experience. All information collected is subject to the Amazon.com Privacy Notice.[88]

Amazon retains digital recordings of users' audio spoken after the "wake up word", and while the audio recordings are subject to demands by law enforcement, government agents, and other entities via subpoena, Amazon publishes some information about the warrants it receives, the subpoenas it receives, and some of the warrant-less demands it receives, allowing customers some indication as to the percentage of illegal demands for customer information it receives.[89]

As Amazon employed ex-US-security-chief Gen Keith B. Alexander in autumn 2020, Edward Snowden commented laconically: "It turns out 'Hey Alexa' is short for 'Hey Keith Alexander."[90]

Echo as criminal evidence[edit]

During the course of the investigation into the November 22, 2015 death of Victor Collins in the home of James Andrew Bates in Bentonville, Arkansas, police sought the data stored on the Amazon Echo on the premises as evidence, but were refused by Amazon.[91][92] The conflict was resolved when Bates consented to the release of his personal information that was held by the company.[93][94]

Concerns relating to in-car smart systems[edit]

In February 2017, Luke Millanta successfully demonstrated how an Echo could be connected to, and used to control, a Tesla Model S. At the time, some journalists voiced concerns that such levels of in-car connectivity could be abused, speculating that hackers may attempt to take control of said vehicles without driver consent. Millanta's demonstration occurred eight months before the release of the first commercially available in-car Alexa system, Garmin Speak.[95][96][97]

Limitations[edit]

Purchasing merchandise in the categories of apparel, shoes, jewelry, and watches is not available.[98] In addition, Amazon Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items are not supported by Alexa's ordering function,[99] while the shopping list function allows no more than one item to be added at a time.[100]

Echo has provided inconsistent responses when asked common questions to which users would expect better answers. Echo sometimes confuses certain homophones.[101]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo

Amazon Echo buying guide: How to choose the best Echo for you

Ever since I saw “Iron Man,” I’ve wanted a robot butler that could manage my entire house. And while we aren’t there quite yet, Amazon’s Alexa has simplified dozens of mundane tasks from playing music to adjusting your lights and thermostat. But if you head to Amazon to buy an Echo, you’ll be inundated with more models and variations than you could possibly sift through. So we decided to try and help. First, let’s clear up the difference between Alexa and Echo, two brand names that often get confused for one another.

  • Alexa is the name of Amazon’s voice assistant — the digital lady that tells you the weather, or answers your burning questions about Taylor Swift’s height (5-foot-11-inches, by the way).
  • The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, is the name of the actual device you put in your kitchen, containing the far-field microphones that listen for the all-important “Alexa” wake word.

Amazon’s Echo devices aren’t the only gadgets with the built-in Alexa assistant, but if you’re looking to run your house with a voice assistant, you’ll almost certainly want a few of them. These are the most current models to look at.

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Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Amazon’s standard Echo is the jack-of-all-trades. Its mid-size body allows it to pump out music at a reasonable volume through its 360-degree speaker setup, answer questions and control your smart home. This is the Echo speaker I recommend for most people, at least for the main areas of your house. It comes in four colors, and you can grab it refurbished for a small discount, too.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

If you want access to Alexa in a certain room but don’t necessarily need the larger speakers, the more affordable Echo Dot is perfect. It does everything the Echo does but at half the price. Here’s the catch: Its speakers don’t have the volume and depth of the standard Echo. It’s fine for weather reports but less ideal for music. You can get the Dot with a built-in clock or in a kids edition with parental controls, too.

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Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

The Echo Plus looks nearly identical to the standard Echo, but it contains a built-in smart home hub that can control certain devices using the Zigbee protocol. It does not, however, support other popular smart home protocols like Z-Wave, so while it can serve as a rudimentary smart home hub, it’s not as powerful as something like Samsung’s SmartThings.

Amazon Echo Studio

While the standard Echo sounds decent for music, the Echo Studio is a larger speaker designed for higher fidelity audio. If you’re in a spacious room and need the extra volume, the Echo Studio could be a good purchase — though true Hi-Fi enthusiasts may want to use the Echo Link (see below) paired with a separate set of speakers.

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Amazon Echo Flex

The Echo Flex shrinks the Echo even further: It’s half the price of the Dot, plugs straight into the wall and sports even smaller speakers. This Echo device is best for spaces where you don’t plan on getting music or information from Alexa, but you want to be able to control the lights with your voice. A USB port on the bottom allows for accessories like night lights and motion sensors, too. Amazon just launched an Echo Flex Smart Clock Accessory that you can plug into the Echo Flex's USB port. Once attached, the accessory automatically displays time in a 12-hour or 24-hour format.

Amazon Echo Link

If you like the idea of playing music with your voice but want to use your own set of Hi-Fi speakers, you want the Echo Link. It doesn’t contain built-in microphones but will allow you to ask another Echo to stream music to your stereo. If you don’t already have an amplifier or a receiver, the Echo Link Amp can power your speakers as well. Note that these devices aren't always as seamless as dedicated Echos when it comes to multi-room music, so be sure to test it with your setup if you plan on playing music in sync throughout the house.

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Echo Show 5

The Echo Show brings all the voice control of traditional Echo device and adds a screen that allows you to video chat with friends, keep an eye on your home security cameras, or watch YouTube videos as you cook in the kitchen. You can grab it in 5-inch or 8-inch sizes.

Echo Spot

Like the Echo Show, the Echo Spot has a screen built-in, though it’s only two-and-a-half inches — Amazon pitches it as a high-tech alarm clock, with the ability to see the weather or your doorbell at a glance.

Those are the primary members of the Echo family, but this really only scratches the surface of what Amazon offers in the smart home universe.

These devices have some limitations when compared to the standard Echos, especially when it comes to voice messaging and multi-room music, so I generally prefer to stick to the standalone options. But if you’re looking to make your robot butler available everywhere, there is no shortage of Alexa-enabled devices to choose from.

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Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon is a former freelance technology writer with bylines in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine, PC Magazine and more. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and How-To Geek.

Источник: https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-amazon-echo-ncna1235765

Amazon Echo Spot Review: Alexa’s cutest container

Of all Alexa’s various enclosures, the Amazon Echo Spot is undoubtedly the cutest. Its body is spherical – larger than a baseball, but much smaller than an Echo Show – and fronted with a 2.5-inch circular touchscreen. That’s a display shape still rare enough to make the whole thing eye-catching; question is, has Amazon done enough to make the Echo Spot more than just that gimmick?

On top there are four microphones and three buttons: volume up and down, and a microphone/camera mute. Press the latter and, not only can’t Alexa hear you, but the video camera nestling above the display is turned off too. Alternatively, you can turn the camera off separately with a voice command, meaning video calls are deactivated but you can still ask the virtual assistant questions.

Setup is straightforward, and unlike a voice-only Echo can be completed entirely from the Echo Spot itself. Once you’ve typed your WiFi password and Amazon account details in, using the small but functional on-screen keyboard, the smart speaker works just like an Echo Show does. You can customize the settings in the Alexa app, such as setting the precise location, as well as turn on Drop-In video calling.

However, changing the clock – there are various analog and digital options – and other basics can all be done through the touchscreen itself. Once you’ve set up any smart home devices, such as connected lights, you can control them by voice. A 3.5mm aux-out connection on the back allows you to hook Echo Spot up to larger speakers, but there’s also Bluetooth to pair a wireless speaker if you’d prefer.

Interestingly, the Echo Spot actually supports Bluetooth audio streaming in both directions. For instance, you can pair your smartphone with it, and play back music through the Echo Spot’s own speakers. That’s useful, though with a single 1.4-inch speaker it’s hardly going to win awards for audio quality. It sounds better than an Echo Dot (a fairly low bar, it has to be said) but lacks the volume and low-end support that you can find in varying quantities in the rest of the range.

So where does Echo Spot fit in Amazon’s Alexa line-up?

Amazon already has an Echo with a display: the Echo Show, launched earlier this year. In a sense, the Echo Spot is to the Echo Show as the Echo Dot is to the Echo. The core functionality, distilled down into a smaller, more affordable device.

That’s all well and good, but whereas the Echo Dot is currently selling for thirty bucks – less than half the price of the second-generation Echo – the Echo Spot is $129.99. In contrast, Amazon will sell you an Echo Show for $149.99. For that, you miss out on the cutesy design but get a far larger, 7-inch touchscreen and much better speakers.

Which screen-blessed flavor of Alexa you go for, then, depends on where you plan to put it. Arguably the natural place for Echo Spot is the bedside nightstand. There, it could replace an alarm clock – you can ask for alarms to wake you with a specific artist or track, courtesy of a recent update – as well as allow you to turn off all the smart home devices in one fell swoop, and give you a rundown of the news in the morning.

Of course, for that to work you also need to be comfortable with always-on microphones and a camera watching you while you’re in bed, something that turned out to be a deal-breaker to my partner. So, Echo Spot ended up on the kitchen counter instead.

What works well

Being able to get recipes read out, you music playback controlled by voice, and have impromptu conversions of weights and measures is still incredibly useful. The smaller screen size, not to mention its shape, does limit what can be shown on-screen at any one time, however. I found myself saying “Alexa, show me more,” a whole lot more frequently than I do with the Echo Show. Alternatively you can scroll with a finger on the touchscreen itself, but that’s not much use when your hands are wet or covered in food.

I also found myself using Drop-In more. Amazon’s video calling system allows you to have video chats either between Echo Show and Echo Spot devices within the home, or with any other contact elsewhere. It takes a little effort to turn on – sensibly it’s off by default; you have to both enable each individual Drop-In capable device, and your own account, before it’ll work – but after that I was able to use it as a home intercom.

“Alexa, drop in on the white Echo Spot,” for instance, would automatically call through to the other room. There’s no need to manually “answer” that call: it just starts automatically. Amazon fades the video in slowly from white, giving you a chance to shut the whole thing down if the timing isn’t right. During the chat, there’s a small thumbnail showing what your own camera is seeing.

If you don’t have another video-capable Echo, you can do Drop-In video calls from the Alexa smartphone app. Alternatively, you can make free voice calls to any other Echo, or to phone numbers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Teach Alexa the difference between each user’s voice in the home, and she can automatically recognize that if you say “Alexa, call mom” it’s a different contact to somebody else’s mother.

As for music, while there’s support for Spotify, Pandora, and more, if you use Amazon’s own services you’ll get on-screen lyrics synchronized to playback. A recent update brought multi-room music too, allowing multiple Echo speakers to be grouped together. If you have a Sonos system, you can control its playback using the Echo Spot.

What could be better

The most frustrating thing about Echo Spot and Echo Show ownership right now is the ongoing spat between Amazon and Google. That has seen YouTube pulled from the smart speakers, though it’s arguably less of a loss for the Echo Spot than its larger sibling.

Video playback supports three levels of zoom. Since you’re trying to fit a rectangular clip onto a circular display, the choice comes down to whether you want to fill the screen up and sacrifice what’s going on around the edges, or see more of the frame but occupy less of the Echo Spot’s screen.

I found it more useful, in fact, for checking the stream from various security cameras I have installed. “Alexa, show me the Cloud Cam” brings up a stream from Amazon’s WiFi camera, for example. Unfortunately you still only get a live view: there’s no way to go back through previous recordings.

Wrap-up

One of the strengths of Amazon’s cloud-based assistant is that the Echo Spot arrives and promptly takes advantage of all the advances Alexa has made over the past few years. That means plenty of smart home skills, third-party games, media services, and more. There’s a huge amount to experiment with out of the box, and Amazon has demonstrated a rapid pace when it comes to rolling out new features and updates.

Of course, it also means that the only thing really setting the Echo Spot apart is its size and unusual screen shape. The bigger Echo Show lacks its spherical sibling’s 3.5mm jack, but other than that you’re getting all the same functionality. When it was selling for $230 that was a big price differential in the Echo Spot’s favor; with the current $20 delta, it’s harder to justify.

I like the Echo Spot for its size and charm, but there’s no denying that in Alexa’s world many skills haven’t yet caught up with a rectangular display, never mind adapting to suit a circular one. For many, the cheapest Echo Dot is still going to satisfy 90-percent of what they want from Alexa, or thereabouts. Video calling is nice, but it’s also already offered on the phone in your pocket, the laptop on your desk, or the tablet on your coffee table.

At $130, then, the Echo Spot still feels like a luxury, at least until Amazon restores the Echo Show to something close to its regular price. The absence of YouTube support – whoever’s fault that might be – rankles, too. Alexa’s usefulness continues unabated, but the current affordability of the Echo Show eats into the Echo Spot’s appeal, while the Echo Dot remains the best bang-for-buck for new adopters.


Источник: https://www.slashgear.com/amazon-echo-spot-review-alexas-cutest-container-18512089/
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Amazon Echo Spot Review - The Best Echo Yet! - The Tech Chap

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