It’s called Amazon Echo, and like so many tech gadgets made by Amazon it’s more of an interesting idea than something which is necessarily likely to leap off the virtual shelves.
Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s always on—just ask for information, music, news, weather, and more. Echo begins working as soon as it hears you say the wake word, “Alexa.” It’s also an expertly-tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.
And – more to the point – it can play all kinds of music (and news) from your Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
It’s bluetooth-enabled, so you can stream content from music services like Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora from your phone or tablet.
That makes it, among many other things, a radio.
It’s a personal assistant tied to the world’s largest shopping store, which is good news for the world’s largest shopping store and those of us who like to shop it.
From the audio perspective, it’s another equalizer which erases the distinctions between “FM” and “AM” and “streaming” since all the distribution channels are squashed into one big audio playground, one voice-command away.
This is part of a larger trend to erase distribution channel boundaries – a phenomenon which places all the emphasis on content worth hearing and the folks who are bold enough and smart enough to create such content.
What makes this different from any other “table radio” that streams music and online radio content? The fact that it does so much more and it does it by voice command. It’s not the radio-type content that would drive demand for this, it’s the everything else that would drive demand.
Still, my gut tells me this is more of a must-have for the gadget geek than for the everyman and everywoman.
But what do you think?