Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days - InformationWeek

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Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
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spembert
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spembert,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/8/2015 | 3:57:40 AM
Amazon Echo shipping to me
I responded to Amazon's offer on November 6. Received email from Amazon on January 6 that I could place my order ($99). Received email shortly after that I would receive echo on February 18. Received email from Amazon late February 7 that I would receive echo on February 11.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/12/2015 | 3:03:58 PM
Re: Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
@Li Tan- The Echo is definitely attempt to prevent (or at least control) that matrix you are describing. I think one of the major challenges of the next 20 years is simply making machines fit into our lives in an organic, human way. Echo seems to be the best effort of this I've seen. Far better than Siri or Cortana or any I've seen because it also fits into the living space. That said, it needs a few more iterations.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/10/2015 | 9:25:26 PM
Re: Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
There are still some improvements needed for Amazon Echo but I do agree with your point - the most important part of it is changing the way we interact with machines. This is the step forward to integrate smart machines/IT products into our inner life cycle. But will it happen that soon we are living inside matrix of machines/IT equipments?
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/10/2015 | 9:25:07 PM
Re: Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
There are still some improvements needed for Amazon Echo but I do agree with your point - the most important part of it is changing the way we interact with machines. This is the step forward to integrate smart machines/IT products into our inner life cycle. But will it happen that soon we are living inside matrix of machines/IT equipments?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/8/2015 | 11:14:24 AM
Re: Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
I like this as the first step in divorcing the computer from the box and putting it into our lifestyle. Even with a phone, if I want to know somehting or do something I have to take out my tiny box and interact with it. Or i go to my big desk box. Something like this takes a lot of computer management out of the box. As it commands more things ("alexa, tell Nest to turn up the heat" or "Alexa, tell my self-driving car to pick up the kids at school) it turns into the most unobtrusive way to mange your life. 
BryanG987
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BryanG987,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2015 | 2:22:05 PM
Re: Echoing the first ten days
I'd like to be able to count on Amazon Music for serious consumption. The downside to Sonos / iTunes, etc is that they can access my purhased library, but not the songs that I add to my library through Prime. So far, the playlist problem outweighs the benefits of the Prime music for me as well, but if Amazon would improve that, it could swing the pendulum for me from iTunes to Amazon Music as I would probably add a lot more of the Prime music into my library.

I've done voice training a couple of times and it still seems like the "V" as a "C" is the one thing it still trips on, but that also doesn't seem to come up on the voice training. Their voice training works with a lot of very common phrases (like "Play my briefing report") and doesn't seem to really go after your custom names or anything at this point.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2015 | 2:18:21 PM
Re: Amazon Echo: My First 10 Days
I'm with most of the rest of you on this one - it seems like this product fits into a grey area, and while the value appears to be there, I'm also a little unsure of who the target audience for it is (indeed, it seems like Amazon might not be sure either). For what it's worth, this article is the first I'm hearing of Echo, but this seems like quite a solid review, Doug, and it looks like you've covered just about everything. I was wondering a bit about the smartphone and desktop integration, but happy to see that's covered here in the comments. I think Lorna makes a good point, though; maybe not with 'firmware updates' per se but it seems like a lot of the missing functionality could be added later. For example, e-mail integration seems possible if the smartphone app is just pushing text to read from your phone to the Echo.

If we consider the whole thing to be a beta of sorts, then most of the shortcoming are forgivable, but nevertheless some of these decisions seem strange from Amazon. Only being able to keep one alarm at a time? I don't see how there was a technical barrrier there, or why they wouldn't think people would have a use for that. The video showcases how the Echo is a little more family-oriented than a Siri, but as BryanG points out there are some hitches with that as well - you don't want your kids buying stuff on Amazon without your say-so. If it's just looking stuff up online, I don't see why it has to limit the sources it uses. I could go on, but we'll just have to see what Amazon plans long-term. At the $99 price, it seems like quite a deal, but the $200 general price seems to relegate it to a more niche category - I'm just not sure what that niche is.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2015 | 12:39:06 PM
Re: Echoing the first ten days
Amazon and every tech supplier wants to appeal to the public at large. I'd think of Echo in the context of the connected speaker market. You can find Sonos, Bose and Jambox speakers at Best Buy and even at some Target stores. That's a sure sign that this is a mainstream category. Time will tell whether Amazon fills out its speaker line, takes Alexa in another direction or both.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2015 | 12:24:10 PM
Re: Echoing the first ten days
Such release from Amazon will help them figure out what bugs it has and what areas it can improve.  As of now, they know many potential areas.  I'm sure future releases will improve.  My question is whether there is a consumer demand for such device?  You said that you can do many of its functionalities with a smartphone ( search info, timer, check personal calendar,etc).  Would this device by acquire just for tech enthusiast or the public at large.   
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2015 | 12:11:50 PM
Re: Echoing the first ten days
This is good feedback for others to think about. As for me, I'm not counting on Amazon Music or Echo for serious music consumption. For that I use Sonos (in the living room or family room) with either my iTunes library or Spotify. Amazon's Prime playlists are fine considering they're free, but I wouldn't pay for them.

As for that "Alexa/Alexis," problem, you can go into the Echo App Settings menu and change the wake work to "Amazon." You could also try "Voice Training" from the "Things to Try" menu and see if that improves Alexa's understanding of your "accent." I'm from the midwest as well, so in my view, it's all those people from the East, South and West who have the accents.
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