Amazon Echo Now Available To All, Shipping Starts July 14
Invites are no longer needed for Amazon's home-based personal assistant that offers voice search, shopping and more.
Amazon Echo, the Seattle-based company’s home-based personal assistant, is now available to anyone who wants it.
Unlike its “competitors” Siri, Cortana and Google Now, Echo isn’t built-in to your smartphone or tablet. (I’m putting “competitors” in quotes because it’s not really a fair comparison.) It’s a physical device that has to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. It’s a 9-inch tall cylinder that sits in any room of a home or office, connects to WiFi, responds to voice prompts and can be controlled via a smartphone app.
Like Siri and Cortana, though, Echo serves as a personal assistant that can answer a variety of questions when you talk to it, putting it as much in competition with voice search options that Google and Bing offer as with Siri, Cortana and Google Now. You can make purchase from Amazon’s website via Echo, have it tell you the day’s top news and more. See my previous article here on Marketing Land for several video examples showing how Echo works:
Since that article, Amazon has added a few new features, including integration with Google Calendar (so I can ask it to tell me what appointments/calls I have on any given day) and IFTTT, among others.
Amazon introduced Echo last November and made it available by invite only. The device currently has a 4.5-star rating with more than 19,000 reviews on its product page. Amazon is taking pre-orders at $179.99 and says shipping will begin on July 14.