Amazon's New Gadget, the Echo Speaker, Will Be Your Own Little Personal Robot Assistant
You guys, we're one step closer to having robots do our chores for us a la Rosie from The Jetsons. According to Wired, retailer titan Amazon has released a gadget called the Echo that will be able to make shopping lists for you, in addition to a bunch of other voice-activated things. Amazon describes it as a gadget that is "designed around your voice." You can ask it for information, like, "What's the weather like outside?" or tell it to play some music ("Play Taylor Swift, please!"). To activate the Echo, you just have to say, "Alexa" — it's the code word. In sum, it's an incredibly smart speaker.
But beyond the weather and news and music commands, the Echo's true purpose is, naturally, to get you to shop. Soon, you'll be able to use the Echo for all your Amazon shopping needs. You won't even need to click a box or verify your credit card's security number or anything. You'll simply say, "Alexa, order me some toilet paper" (or, the more likely request: "Alexa, order me the entire DVD series of Friday Night Lights").
Tech Crunch surmises this is why Amazon is offering its Prime members 50% off the Echo. "Prime members order more. Make it easier for Prime members to order even more, and they will." As an almost daily Prime user, I have to agree. If I had a little gadget that acted as a personal shopper, I would hands down use it way more than I do my Amazon shopping app.
It's not available yet and if you want one, you'll have to "request an invitation." But the asking price is $199 ($99 for Amazon Prime members). Still, it seems like a pretty reasonable price for a high-tech robot assistant. Lazy shoppers, I think you've found the #1 player on your Christmas list. I sure did.