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July 6, 2016updated 06 Mar 2017 2:47pm

What is Amazon Echo?

The craze for smart home assistants has arrived and Amazon is leading the hype.

By Joao Lima

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker created by Amazon.

Amazon Echo was unveiled in November 2014, with a wider launch in June 2015. It is a smart home assistant device.

Echo is a hands-free speaker controlled mostly by voice. A mobile app is available, however, Echo has been designed mostly for voice communication.

The user is able to choose three different names for the 23.5 cm tall cylindrical tower. These are Amazon, Alexa or Echo.

Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. It is also Bluetooth-enabled allowing users to stream other music services like iTunes from their phone or tablet.

What can the Echo do?

Echo can also carry out any sort of functions from turning lights on/off, to ordering pizza, requesting a ride from Uber, or answering any sort of questions a user might have.

Echo works with devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink.

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In March 2016, Amazon launched the Echo Dot, a smaller version of the original Echo, about the size of a hockey puk sold at $80. In addition, it also released a smaller cylindrical tower, the Echo Tap, priced at $130.

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