Amazon Echo now available for all US customers to purchase, ships July 14

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  • Reply 21 of 38
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 58member
    I own one of these and I love it. "Hey Siri" only works when my phone is plugged in and then not for decent music or audio unless it is connected to another device so it does not fit the bill that this device does. It is a great sounding Bluetooth speaker. The speaker can be used with an iPhone or playing it's own music. You can adjust volume with being near just by telling it to adjust volume or stop playing.

    I have one in my bathroom, while I am in the shower I can tell it to play different music or podcasts, cane to an i Heart Radio Station or add items to a shopping list while right when I think about it. It will stream 5 minute NPR news summary in the mornings for me as well.
  • Reply 22 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    ... but if this were Apple's product...

    Umm... that incorrect premise just about captures your post.

  • Reply 23 of 38
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,046member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post



    You mean I can have Amazon constantly listening to everything I say? And it only costs me $180? Sweet!



    Didn't buy it when I got the invite for $99, sure won't buy it now. Amazing how companies have figured out a way to get us to pay them to put products that funnel purchases and content requests directly to them. you would think for the right to sit in my house and be the sole source of my shopping list creation and music streaming, they would pay me.

    Some people still buy it if you look at the online ratings. I was invited too for $99 and didn't see the point of wasting money on a so called "smart" Bluetooth speaker. It doesn't do much difference compared to your smart phone + BT speakers. Oh, it doesn't support many different languages. BTW, the speaker sound sucks at high volume.

    I guess when next iOS and Android M are released to centralize the smart home devices, this Echo will probably collect dirt in some corner of the house.

  • Reply 24 of 38
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,046member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

     

     

    As someone else said earlier in the thread, if Apple had made this, everyone would be banging on about how amazing it is.


    If Apple had made this, they would've made it so much more useful, not like a little smarter BT speaker like this. Echo speaker is mediocre. Search engine is Bing and not portable...meaning you have to plug in to use. If Apple do this, they would make it battery operated too so you can bring it to picnic and use your phone or public WiFi hot spots. 

    BTW, this is a product to be forgotten in a few months.

  • Reply 25 of 38
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,046member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wwchris View Post



    I own one of these and I love it. "Hey Siri" only works when my phone is plugged in and then not for decent music or audio unless it is connected to another device so it does not fit the bill that this device does. It is a great sounding Bluetooth speaker. The speaker can be used with an iPhone or playing it's own music. You can adjust volume with being near just by telling it to adjust volume or stop playing.



    I have one in my bathroom, while I am in the shower I can tell it to play different music or podcasts, cane to an i Heart Radio Station or add items to a shopping list while right when I think about it. It will stream 5 minute NPR news summary in the mornings for me as well.

    Some people just cannot tell the difference between "Stereo" and "Mono" sounds on a speaker and can't tell the distortion when volume is turned up...That's why Amazon Echo can sell...because there're always people out there who don't know anything about sound.

  • Reply 26 of 38
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,685member
    I like the idea of this and Apple will be doing something similar with the revamped (if it's ever to be revamped) Apple TV. It's no more spying on anybody than Siri. The idea is to control the house.

    Siri is much improved these days so hopefully this kind of thing is in the future.
  • Reply 27 of 38
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

     

    I'm actually quite impressed with mine.  It's speech recognition, while still limited in function (though they keep adding more to it) is impressive, even at long range (mine's in the corner of the kitchen, and it picks up what I tell it a good 20m away).  Using it to build a shopping list is surprisingly intuitive and useful (when you're rooting through the pantry and you find you don't have something you need, just saying, Alexa, add "x" to my shopping list" becomes second nature).

     

    Music playbacks better than I expected as well - a surprisingly big sound for a small speaker.  Obviously it's not something you'd sit and listen to music on, but for incidental "background" music, it's great.

     

    It's also a very well made piece of hardware.

     

    As someone else said earlier in the thread, if Apple had made this, everyone would be banging on about how amazing it is.


     

    Agree. For what it advertises to do, which is limited, it works well. Can be almost anywhere within shouting distance and it responds.

    If the TV is playing loud, it might take a second try.

    To me--- this is mainly a casual music player that you can control with your voice. I don't have any home automation to try out.

    For Amazon Prime(music) customers this seems like a no-brainer gadget to obtain (assuming you are not part of the Tin foil hat crowd). Put in your bedroom, bathroom, hobby room or garage etc.

     

    Just my guess --- the new apple tv (if there will ever be such a thing) will be similar.

  • Reply 28 of 38
    booboobooboo Posts: 49member

    I requested an invitation to buy an Echo when it first came out last November. Although Amazon made no promises, I thought they might fulfill most invitation requests before the holiday season, but no dice.

     

    January came, still no word from Amazon, so I bought a Sonos system instead. Not the same thing exactly, but I primarily wanted an upgrade from playing music over a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen.

     

    A week after I installed the Sonos system, I finally got an invitation from Amazon to buy an Echo. Too late, though, that ship had sailed.

     

    No need for an Echo now. If we want to listen to music, we use Sonos (awesome!). If we want to ask general questions using voice activation, we've got Siri on iPhones and an Apple Watch.

  • Reply 29 of 38
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 58member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    Some people just cannot tell the difference between "Stereo" and "Mono" sounds on a speaker and can't tell the distortion when volume is turned up...That's why Amazon Echo can sell...because there're always people out there who don't know anything about sound.




    Some people can't understand the difference between appropriate tools for a job.

     

    I have a 7.1 Polk Audio setup in my blacked-out, basement home theater with my 110-inch screen. It's tuned to THX Standards and then tweaked for my personal preference for slightly more center channel and bass.

     

    In my bathroom, I have a mono Amazon Echo speaker with a separate woofer that gives decent bass (for my bathroom showering needs) and responds to my voice so I can give it commands or adjust the volume without leaving my shower. While I sometimes use it for music, I mostly use it for spoken podcasts so I'm not super concerned about stereo.

     

    I have another Echo  in my kitchen where, when my hands are busy, I can give it voice commands and add items to my shopping lists without having to touch anything with wet or dirty hands.

     

    I never said the Echo was an audiophile's dream. It is a decent speaker for what it is designed to do and the price point (which was $99 at the time). Also, the voice recognition is spot on from anywhere in the room.

  • Reply 30 of 38
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wwchris View Post

     



    Some people can't understand the difference between appropriate tools for a job.

     

    I have a 7.1 Polk Audio setup in my blacked-out, basement home theater with my 110-inch screen. It's tuned to THX Standards and then tweaked for my personal preference for slightly more center channel and bass.

     

    In my bathroom, I have a mono Amazon Echo speaker with a separate woofer that gives decent bass (for my bathroom showering needs) and responds to my voice so I can give it commands or adjust the volume without leaving my shower. While I sometimes use it for music, I mostly use it for spoken podcasts so I'm not super concerned about stereo.

     

    I have another Echo  in my kitchen where, when my hands are busy, I can give it voice commands and add items to my shopping lists without having to touch anything with wet or dirty hands.

     

    I never said the Echo was an audiophile's dream. It is a decent speaker for what it is designed to do and the price point (which was $99 at the time). Also, the voice recognition is spot on from anywhere in the room.


     

    Good post, I think I'm starting to understand this product a little better...

  • Reply 31 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    I wouldn't buy one for myself, but I'm surprised at all the criticism (actually, I'm not, but if this were Apple's product, I'm sure we'd be hearing praise). I think they've done a great job at coming up with an imaginative way of changing form factor and further integrating voice-commands into daily life by providing functionality that doesn't feel like you're using a computer or smartphone.

     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

     

    I recall someone here (Solipsism?) saying he had one and it worked quite well, especially in terms of the voice control.


     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

     

    I'm actually quite impressed with mine.  It's speech recognition, while still limited in function (though they keep adding more to it) is impressive, even at long range (mine's in the corner of the kitchen, and it picks up what I tell it a good 20m away).

     

    As someone else said earlier in the thread, if Apple had made this, everyone would be banging on about how amazing it is.


     

    Don't think anyone is saying or thinks it was poorly or cheaply made, or said it does not or would not work as designed and intended. I think what most people (including me, but not everyone) is saying why would anyone want to buy this for two reasons:

     


    1. It cost too much for the average person, most people are not willing to spend almost $200 for something they can use their smartphone or tablet to do many of the same things. You can use Siri or the Android/Windows equivalent to make shopping list, play music, etc. Many on this board can easily afford to pay for these things, but cannot or are simply not willing to spend that much for a standalone.

    2. Many (including me) are worried about Amazon possibly listening to everything you say, day and night. Many bash Google about tracking everything you do/search/email, but are willing to buy this and risk Amazon tracking your words. Even if they do not, they are definitely using it for marketing and research and storing it all somewhere. Why not just buy a Samsung Smart TV that does listen then you can have two companies in two countries tracking your every word?

     

    The weak argument that if this was an Apple product people here would fawn all over it and tell that it's the greatest is silly. People on here bash Apple all the time, most Apple fans - including me. Not everything Apple does is genius, they make plenty of mistakes (ask Taylor Swift), people still complaining about the Beats purchase. So, stop using that unfounded and foolish argument, be better than that - if you can be.

  • Reply 32 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,399member
    [*] Many (including me) are worried about Amazon possibly listening to everything you say, day and night. Many bash Google about tracking everything you do/search/email, but are willing to buy this and risk Amazon tracking your words. Even if they do not, they are definitely using it for marketing and research and storing it all somewhere. Why not just buy a Samsung Smart TV that does listen then you can have two companies in two countries tracking your every word?
    It isn't listening to ANYTHING you say until you initialize the listening mode with the hotword, which I think they call a wake word.
  • Reply 33 of 38
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,418member

    I did buy one at the $99 advance sneak preview price, because, hey, toys...

    While waiting 6 months for it (it came in April), it suddenly(?) occurred to me that,

    what the heck would I need one for???

     

    I'm embarrassed to say I gave it as a wedding present over the past weekend, because, hey, young people...

    I'm hoping they find some cool uses for it, since it's supposed to "evolve".

     

    It's good to hear the comment about voice control working, but, when I think back to how well

    my Kindles work, after 7 years developing - and "evolving" them - I'd need a lot of proof

    to be convinced Amazon can effectively program any hardware more complicated than a calculator

    (and even then, I'd check my figures twice).

  • Reply 34 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member

    The NSA already offers this service and the cost is free (hidden in your taxes).

  • Reply 35 of 38
    1. It cost too much for the average person, most people are not willing to spend almost $200 for something they can use their smartphone or tablet to do many of the same things. You can use Siri or the Android/Windows equivalent to make shopping list, play music, etc. Many on this board can easily afford to pay for these things, but cannot or are simply not willing to spend that much for a standalone.

    So are you a supporter or a critic of Apple charging a base $450 for the ? Watch since your argument seems equally applicable to that case.
  • Reply 36 of 38

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    It isn't listening to ANYTHING you say until you initialize the listening mode with the hotword, which I think they call a wake word.

     

    tl;dr - It has a microphone connected to someone selling you something, therefore it is always listening to EVERYTHING you say.

     

    You're getting hung up in the terminology - 'Listening mode' should be called 'Action mode'.  It may not be acting on anything you say until you initialize the 'listening mode' with the hotword, but logical deduction reveals that it must be listening to every word you say all of the time, otherwise it wouldn't "hear" the hotword and know that it was supposed to do something.  It is always listening.  It must be listening because it doesn't know when you're going to say the hotword, it just isn't always doing anything......that you know of. 

     

    Samsung just got flak over something similar - their smart tv might key off of certain words to execute commands, and it just sits there like a dumb tv the rest of the time, but it is sending every word it hears out for analysis.  Supposedly it discards everything that isn't a command that it 'cares about'.  That doesn't necessarily mean the rest of your conversation that was run through the voice recognition program on their servers was not something that someone at Samsung might care about.   Hmmmm, convert to text everything you hear, correlate the IP address with the registered owner of the TV, hear someone in the room using the words 'iphone' and 'buy' in a sentence, put up banner ads for the latest Galaxy Suckphone as often as possible.  And around election time they could market a 'political research service' to candidates and make a ton of money in some of the key battleground states selling the candidates the raw text of what voters are saying about them in their living rooms.  Candidates would pay a LOT of money for that information.

  • Reply 37 of 38

    I prefered the beta version of Alexa...

     

    image

  • Reply 38 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,399member
    tl;dr - It has a microphone connected to someone selling you something, therefore it is always listening to EVERYTHING you say.
    Using that as the measuring stick your iPhone with Siri and Android handsets with Google Now are listening to everything you say. More accurately the hardware device must be listening for a keyword to activate an "action" but nothing you say goes back to the Apple/Amazon/Google hive until that keyword is used. So they aren't listening to everything you say even tho the device may be. You OK with that phrasing?
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