When Amazon first announced the Echo, it was invitation only, and Prime members got first shot. Of course I put my name in right away. So I was offered it for half price as a Prime member and it arrived almost a month ago.

I mainly wanted to check it out. For $99, it seemed interesting just for the technology. I decided to put it away and leave it as a Christmas present for the family.

My wife accused me of buying a present for myself (guilty) but I was pretty sure the kids would be into it. “Alexa, play Katy Perry”.

The speaker is quite good. It works as a single speaker for pretty much our entire living area. The voice recognition is excellent. If you are a Prime member, you have access to a ton of Prime music on top of whatever you have in your Amazon music library. It also integrates with iHeartRadio and can stream a ton of radio stations. It also does math and spelling and some other cloud based queries.

It also creates grocery and to do lists. It’s not hard to see where Amazon is going with this, given that they are getting into the grocery business. My daughters asked, “Alexa, play Fifth Harmony” (popular girl group, for those who don’t know them) and we got a playlist from Amazon Prime. But their most popular song wasn’t on the list. Tori said “Alexa, play Sledgehammer” (Tori loves to talk to Alexa). Echo replied, “playing an excerpt from Fifth Harmony Sledgehammer”. Thirty seconds later after the except ended, Echo said, “Sledgehammer is available for 99 cents. Buy now?”.

It’s a very cool device, but pretty obvious where they are going with this…


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