Smart and connected homes still have a ways to go before we can literally control everything with our voices, but until that time there's at least some of that capability available to consumers as of now, thanks to Amazon's Echo connected speaker. At first Amazon made the echo available only to a limited number of users as it was purchasable only if you had an invite, but earlier this year they began selling it to all consumers through Amazon.com. It was also available through Staples' website. As of today, though, Amazon has announced that it is going to give consumers a chance to pick up the Echo speaker from other retail outlets in an attempt to expand its reach.
With the holiday shopping season already fast approaching people will be looking to get the right gifts for the people they care about, and Amazon wants to make sure that the Echo is available to all who want it, so just in time for the craziest shopping times of the year Amazon is going to be selling the Echo at more than 3,000 retail locations throughout the U.S. This includes stores like Home Depot, Brookstone, Radio Shack, Staples, Fred Meyer and more, all of which have multiple locations in multiple states so it should be pretty widely available to anyone who wants one, or to anyone who wants to pick one up for a gift. You can, of course, still buy these off of amazon too right now so there's no waiting for them to hit physical stores in your area.
Although the Echo is capable of acting simply as a smart speaker for things like reading you off the weather and the news, it's also compatible with plenty of different smart home products like the Belkin WeMo smart bulbs, Smart Things home kit and more, largely expanding the use of the Echo around the home to control things like your lights, turning on and off your TV, and more simply by using your voice. You can also use it to read off calendar information from your Google Calendars, listen to audio books, and listen to and control your streaming music from a number of various services like Prime Music or Pandora. The Amazon Echo retails for $179.99, and should hit the listed retailers (you can find the full list through the source) in the coming weeks ahead.