When Amazon announced and debuted the Echo back in 2014, many people weren't quite sure what it was meant to do. At the time, it appeared to be a Bluetooth speaker that had some Google Now-like capabilities. But in the (almost) two years since the Echo debuted, Alexa has gotten better and better and is actually the front-runner for the connected or smart home. Amazon wants Alexa to be your personal assistant, sort of like Google's Assistant. But one thing that Amazon needed to do was to get Alexa into more hands. And they did just that. By creating cheaper Echo products in the Amazon Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap. They also brought Alexa to their tablets and Fire TV products.
Amazon wants Alexa to be everywhere. This is a big part of the reason why Amazon has been selling the Echo Dot in 6-packs (you actually buy five and get the sixth for free). Allowing you to get an Echo Dot for every room in your house and even take one for your desk at work. But why does Amazon want this? Because it gets you deeper into their ecosystem. It's not quite clear how Amazon is going to bring in revenue from Alexa - other than selling hardware with Alexa on it - but that will come soon enough. Right now, Amazon is working on perfecting Alexa and giving her loads of new skills. Not to mention it's being integrated with other products and platforms like Philips Hue and Nest, to control your smart home.
Researchers believe that the Echo - and more specifically the Echo Dot due to its price point - will be a way to get more and more people into the smart home space. Seeing as many smart appliances are pretty pricey - in fact a smart outlet is about the same price as the Echo Dot. But getting things started with the Echo Dot, Amazon Tap or the Amazon Echo can make things a bit easier, especially where they work with many different platforms already. It has been an interesting two years for Amazon's Alexa and Echo already, and it's going to be an interesting future for the products too.