Amazon Echo personal assistant appliance becomes available for anyone to order

The same technology that gave us smartphones has been spreading to device after device in recent years, bringing us everything from smartwatches to connected automobiles. One of the biggest areas for growth has been this idea of a smart home: getting our appliances, security systems, and climate control networks to all talk together. And while really tight integration is still a tricky feat to accomplish, companies have been taking big strides lately in delivering products that make smartphone tech feel like a natural fit in new environments. That’s just what Amazon did last fall with the Echo, and today the company shares some big news about greatly improved Echo availability.

It’s hard to pin-down just what Echo is, but probably the best way to think of it is as the physical embodiment of a virtual personal assistant like Cortana or Siri. You speak to Echo’s cylindrical speaker, and it answers your requests. Users can control connected devices around the home, access music, get the latest news, and even order products from Amazon, just by talking to Echo.

After debuting last fall, Amazon kept access to Echo restricted, selling it with an invite-only system. Today that all changes, and general sales of Echo open to the public.

Amazon’s selling the Echo for just about $180. Orders are open now, with shipments set to go out in three weeks.

Source: Amazon

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!