Amazon Echo: anyone can now buy company’s voice-controlled speaker

Similar to digital assistants like Google Now and Siri, Amazon’s Echo lets people ask for information with their voice and have it read back to them through a speaker

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The Independent Tech

Amazon is finally releasing its Echo digital assistant to the public, after months of only letting people who are invited get to see it.

Everyone in the US can now order the small, bin-shaped speaker and get it shipped to them from July 14. It was originally launched in November, and Amazon says that it has been making improvements to it since then.

The company’s speaker — which can control other hardware like connected lamps, and stream music out of its speaker — has received mix reviews since it was released. On Amazon itself, it has a 4.5 star rating from those that were selected to take part in an early release.

The price is now set at $179.99. Originally, the speakers were more expensive with different options depending on whether customers had Amazon Prime or not.

The echo is powered by a character called Alexa, who can talk to users and is built in the cloud so that it can share what it learns with other units. Amazon says that it has been improving Alexa since it was released, adding support for Pandora and audiobooks, as well as connected home products like Belkin’s WeMo and Phillips Hue.

Amazon hasn’t said whether the Echo will be released outside of the US, including in the UK.

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