Amazon Echo

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Amazon Echo

A device from Amazon.com that combines a wireless speaker, music streamer and virtual assistant in one unit. Introduced in 2015, the Echo speaker connects to a music source via Bluetooth and also streams music from the user's local music collection, Amazon's libraries, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.

"Alexa - What's the Capital of Maine?"
Always connected via Wi-Fi, when any of the Echo's seven microphones hears the word "Alexa" from across the room, it "wakes up," emits an audible signal and waits for a verbal question.

The Echo App
Available for desktop and mobile devices, the Echo app guides the user through the device setup, logs all subsequent questions and answers in addition to managing a to-do list, timer, alarms and music sources. The app can also be used to ask a question.

Echo Dot and Amazon Tap
In 2016, Amazon added two related products. Echo Dot is a speakerless version of Echo that requires hookup to Bluetooth speakers. Dot does not respond to the Alexa "wake-up" word; a button must be pressed. Amazon Tap is more like the regular Echo but only for music, weather and news. See virtual assistant, Bluetooth speaker and Amazon Dash.


A Virtual Assistant for the Home
The Echo's "far-field" voice recognition lets people verbally command the unit from a distance. (Images courtesy of Amazon.com.)
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