Amazon.com Inc had never let on that it was interested in the Internet-of-things or that it had designs on building products for the connected home. Until now that is, when it introduced its Amazon Echo device and its Alexa personal assistant. In one deft move, Amazon has succeeded in sidestepping both Google and Apple to build a personal assistant that was once the stuff of sci-fi movies and futurist dreams.
Amazon is one of most impressive success stories in the tech industry. Jeff Bezo’s started the firm from the humble beginnings of selling books online and he later transformed the business into a store for everything. He got into cloud computing with AWS and he started music and movie streaming services. Now, Amazon wants to become a market leader in the connected home and Echo and Alexa are primed for the job.
In case you haven’t met Echo and Alexa, here’s a quick introduction. Amazon Echo “is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask”.
Amazon is on marketing frenzy to sell Echo
Many people erroneously assume that Amazon echo is just a Bluetooth speaker for playing music and getting basic information from the web. However, Jeff Bezos has much bigger plans, and Echo could turn out to become an home operating system through which users can control doors, household appliances, and lighting among other things. Interestingly, Jeff Bezos has revealed that he plans to sell as much as 10 million Echo devices in the next one year.
As part of efforts to get you to buy an Echo device, Amazon is out with a number of attractive deals. Yesterday, Amazon introduced the Echo Dot, which allows you to have Alexa in multiple rooms at a fraction of the cost of the standard-sized Echo. You can also buy the Echo Dot is a six-pack order in a buy five, get one free offer. Bezos says “at under $50, it is easier than ever to add Echo and Alexa to any or every room in your home… , “with the same high-quality array of seven microphones found in Echo, the all-new Echo Dot can hear you from across the room, even when it’s noisy or music is playing”.
Earlier in August, rumors started making the rounds that Amazon was working on a music streaming service that costs $4 or $5 per month. The only catch was that you’ll need to own an Echo speaker to access the service. More so, the firm is offering a 20% discount on diapers if you place your order with Echo or Echo Dot.
Amazon Echo goes to UK and Germany
Amazon is already making waves in the U.S. with its Echo and Echo Dot devices and now, the devices are heading to UK and Germany. The devices have attracted rave reviews. For instance, CNET observes that “the Echo may be the closest thing we’ll have to a Star Trek computer at home.” Now, Amazon has launched the Echo and Echo dot for the U.K and German markets. In the UK, the Echo will sell for £149.99 while Echo Dot will sell for £49.99. In Germany, Echo retails for €179.99 while Echo Do is available for €60.
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices and Services notes that “millions of customers love Alexa, and we’re thrilled to introduce her to the UK and Germany”. He also noted that the firm would love to see its Echo device become a hub the connected home. In his words, “We’re also excited to expand the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service, so developers and hardware makers around the world can create Alexa experiences for UK and German customers.”