In 2011, a group of Amazon engineers came together with a simple goal in mind: to create a device that could control their home using only their voice. The project was code-named “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, and over the next few years, it would evolve into something much more than just a voice-controlled thermostat. In late 2014, Amazon Echo was born, and it has since become one of the company’s most popular products.
Amazon’s original purpose for the echo was to make it easier for customers to shop on the site. The hands-free device would allow users to add items to their shopping carts without ever having to pick up a phone or laptop. However, as the team began working on the project, they realized that Echo could be so much more than just a shopping tool. With its built-in voice recognition software and far-field microphones, Echo was perfectly positioned to become a digital assistant, and that’s exactly what it became.
These days, Echo is used for everything from playing music and reading the news to controlling smart home devices and ordering pizza. And with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service constantly adding new features and skills, it’s only going to get more use in the years to come.
Since its launch, Echo has undergone several iterations and improvements. The second-generation model, released in 2016, was smaller and more affordable than the original, and it included a new feature called “Alexa Calling” that allowed users to make hands-free calls to other Echo devices. The third-generation model, released in 2017, added a built-in speaker and improved sound quality. And just last year, Amazon released the fourth-generation Echo, which is even smaller and more affordable than the previous models.
While Amazon Echo is the most popular voice-controlled assistant on the market, it’s not the only one. Google Home, released in 2016, is a direct competitor to Echo, and it offers similar features and functionality. Apple’s Siri, first introduced in 2011, is also a voice-controlled assistant that can be used to control various smart home devices. And there are many other voice-controlled assistants available from a variety of different manufacturers.
Amazon has stayed ahead in the game by constantly adding new features and skills to Echo.
Modifications And Functions
Echo has come a long way since its inception, but it’s still just a speaker with a microphone. So what can it do? Well, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence and the Alexa Voice Service, Echo can do everything from play music and answer questions to control your smart home devices and order products from Amazon. And as more and more developers create new “skills” for Alexa, the possibilities are endless.
Echo has transitioned into larger sizes and Amazon has begun adding screens to some editions. You can video call, order an Uber, and there are even skills for kids. Some skills are more useful than others but the addition of a screen gives you the ability to see as well as hear results. In 2019, Amazon also released the Echo Input: a smaller, puck-shaped device that doesn’t have a speaker but can be connected to other speakers via Bluetooth or an aux cable.
Echo can also be used to control other devices in your home, such as your lights, thermostat, and even your TV. If you have a smart home device that’s compatible with Amazon’s Echo platform, all you need to do is ask Alexa to control it. For example, you can say “Alexa, turn on the living room light” or “Alexa, set the temperature to 68 degrees.”
You can also use Echo to control your TV. If you have a compatible Fire TV device, you can say things like “Alexa, play Stranger Things on Netflix” or “Alexa, turn up the volume.” You can even use Echo to control your cable box if it’s connected to a Fire TV Stick.
Echo can also be used as an intercom system. With the Alexa app, you can call any other Echo device in your home and talk to them hands-free. This is great for leaving messages or checking in on loved ones.
In The Future
Amazon plans to continue adding new features and skills to Echo, making it even more useful in the years to come. They’ve also said that they plan to release new Echo devices with different form factors, so we may see a larger Echo later down the road.
And with Google, Apple, and other manufacturers releasing their own voice-controlled assistants, the competition is only going to get more heated.
Amazon seems poised to stay ahead of the pack thanks to its constant innovation and commitment to making Echo the best voice-controlled assistant on the market.