If you ever felt like using a device apart from your smartphone or tablet to help with managing your schedule, send commands to apps or receive frequent updates, Amazon's Echo and Echo Dots will be perfect for you. The two devices launched in the UK today for £149.99 and £49.99 respectively and are available to pre-order on the Amazon UK website.
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Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot will run Alexa, Amazon's proprietary digital assistant whose functioning is very similar to that of Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana or the Google Now assistant in Android phones. If you ask her, Alexa will read out the news for you, check the latest scores, manage your calendar, play music and control lights in your home. Alexa can also control a range of third party apps including the likes of Spotify, Uber, Philips Hue, Hive, Just Eat and National Rail Enquiries. Just like Siri, Google Now and Cortana use their respective browsers, Alexa will search for answers to your queries on Amazon's web services.
The Echo devices look a lot like your conventional wireless Bluetooth speakers and will be available in different sizes and packs depending on how you wish to use them. The larger Amazon Echo features noise-cancellation, advanced voice-recognition and beam-forming technology to hear you clearly even if you're talking to it from another corner of your room.
The smaller Amazon Echo Dot features similar voice recognition tech as the Echo and runs Alexa as well. You will be able to connect it to your speakers via an audio cable or Bluetooth and will be able to control your home stereo system and a range of other smart devices through it. It can also be used as a smart alarm clock as well as a medium to turn off your room's lights, fans or thermostats.
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With the new smart home controlling system which includes Echo, Echo Dot and Alexa, Amazon aims to make it easier for you to control your schedule, hail cabs, make calls, find information on the web, control your home's power consumption and listen to music and audiobooks completely hands-free. Echo and Echo Dot devices gradually adapt to your voice patterns and the more you use them, the more accurate they will become over a period of time.
Apart from the Amazon store, you will be able to buy Echo and Echo Dot devices at Argos, Currys, John Lewis, PC World, and Tesco. While the Echo is available as a single device, the Echo Dot is being sold in packs of six and twelve and if you buy these packs, you will only need to pay for five and ten Dots and get one and two for free respectively.
Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot devices and the Alexa voice services released in the UK today and are available to purchase from the Amazon UK website as well as retail stores like Argos, Currys, John Lewis, PC World, and Tesco. While the Echo costs £149.99, the smaller Echo Dot costs just £49.99 and is available in packs of five and ten. “Millions across the US have already fallen in love with Alexa. And, predictably, she’s even more likeable with a British accent. We’re delighted to be bringing Echo and Alexa to the UK,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.