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What your Alexa can do for you?

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) published a new report today from its latest “home automation devices” study that shows Amazon and its Echo products with a 76 percent U.S. market share, compared to 24 percent for Google and its Google Home device

Amazon first entered the smart home speaker scene two years ago with its original Echo device; it now also sells different models like the $49.99 Echo Dot, which accounts for more than 50 percent of Echo products in the wild, CIRP noted. There are now more than 8.5 million customers who own an Amazon Echo device.

The Alexa personal assistant can turn off light bulbs, brief you on the news of the day and control your thermostat.

Alexa happens to be the first AI personal assistant with a dedicated service. She will listen to all your commands, answer all your questions, plays music and helps control your smart home devices. Alexa can also help interact with various third-party apps on the playstore and personalize your shopping experience.

The Echo is made available in the US, UK, and Germany and one of the major challenges that Alexa faced was understanding the different contexts of different languages and their meanings. For example, sports fan in the US while asking for Reds would probably mean the Red Sox but Alexa, the virtual personal assistant knows that here in the UK, the reds could only mean Liverpool. Since its official launch, the Echo has only grown smarter. Most of this can be credited to the Echo’s apps. Whenever you enable an app, you are indirectly giving Alexa a new lesson.

The Amazon Echo Plus looks a lot like the original Echo and it only comes in silver, white and black. It’s made for anyone that wants great sound and has plenty of smart home accessories they want to control.

In most ways, this Echo is just like every other. Inside the Echo Plus is a 2.5-inch subwoofer and a 0.8-inch tweeter. You can use it to fill an entire room with sound and an audio port on the back lets you turn your existing speaker system into an Amazon Echo.

When you have a hallway or small room that you’d like to use Alexa in, you buy the Amazon Echo Dot. At $49.99, it’s the cheapest of all Echo devices, and it still has a lot of functionality. Amazon’s smallest and least expensive Echo is the one most folks should start with — and for many folks it’s all they’ll need. You can ask Alexa questions, stream music or set reminders with the Echo Dot. It stands just 1.3-inches tall though, allowing it to almost disappear in any home. It’s perfect for a bedside table or a small bathroom. Tan leather, merlot leather, midnight leather, indigo fabric, charcoal fabric and sandstone fabric cases help Echo Dot blend with the rest of your room’s décor.

Echo Spot, a device with a small screen that serves as a kind of smart alarm clock. The Spot has a 2.5-inch screen and is an evolution of both the Echo Dot and the Echo Show, marrying a screen with the kind of small device that can be placed throughout the house, the company says. “It works great as an alarm clock. But it does a lot more,” Amazon devices chief Dave Limp said.

Like the show, the Spot can be used to make video calls. It has built-in sound, but it also has a line out so that it can be connected to external speakers via a cable or Bluetooth.

If you want an Echo that can also show you videos, weather and footage from security cameras around your home, the Echo Show is the right device for you.

Should your friends and family also have one, you can also use Echo Show for video calls thanks to the camera embedded above the screen. There’s also a stalker-ish ‘drop in’ function, that seemingly lets you observe the goings on of people in your friends’ list. It’s still early days though, and there’s not a lot of clarification of what these features actually entail.

 

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