Like most retailers, Amazon is not simply content with offering you other people's products and instead places great emphasis on its generic-brand items. however unlike the generic stuff you might pick up at Ralphs or Tesco, Amazon's own-brand is aimed at provided cutting edge technology and sometimes rather strange offerings. Today Amazon have launched their new Amazon Echo system.
Now in short this is a speaker system for your home albeit with a difference - this is a smart speaker. Yes, as well as providing the usual music playback this speaker system also acts similar to Google Now offering voice activated and response actions. For instance you can vocally ask the speaker about the weather, news and sports results and the speaker will verbally answer what you have asked. in addition to its more informative abilities the speaker can respond to your voice to commence playing music from a variety of sources including obviously Prime, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. However, differently to your handheld device with Google Now it is unlikely you will be carrying the Echo around the house with you. With that in mind Amazon have included what they call Far-Field Voice Recognition. This technology includes seven in-built microphones around the surround of the unit. This allows voice recognition from any direction and even the claim that Echo can hear you while music is playing. Also, unlike Google Now "OK Google" will not work with this unit and instead the phrase "Alexa" is used to wake Echo up and know that you are talking to it. Echo is always on and always connected to the Amazon Cloud service which Amazon claims allows the system to continually learn and receive automatic updating. As this is a music system its probably worth noting that the speaker comes with a small 2.5" bass speaker along with a sufficient 2" twitter. Lastly, as with everything, Echo comes with its own App which can additionally help to record the notes you make, activate the system and change settings etc.
Interested in Echo? Well, Amazon have set up a dedicated page where you can "request an invitation" (yes folks, more invites) to try. Echo will set you back a cool $199.99 but if you are already a Prime member they are offering a limited time discount of $100 meaning the system will only cost you $99.99. So what do you think of a voice activated music player/information hub? Are you interested? Would you give a try? Bit pricey? Whatever your thoughts let us know.