The Echo speaker is Amazon’s most interesting experiment yet. At $99, the Echo more than earns its keep. It’s main feature is voice control software called Alexa. The wireless speaker does not have battery power, that’s because it’s always on. It listens for the ‘Hey Alexa’ voice command and will play music from a number of streaming sources.
Outside of music, Alexa can answer a lot of questions. If it’s on Wikipedia, Alexa can reference it and read the first paragraph to you. We had a lot of fun asking it random fact-based questions like “how fast can a cheetah run,” “when was Starbucks founded,” and “how old are you?” Need measurement conversions? Alexa can knock that out, too. In fact, the Echo speaker ended up being a great kitchen companion, and my son swears by the Echo as a study companion.
Alexa can also tell you about the weather, what time it is, set an alarm for you, and add items to a shopping list or a to-do list. Plus, any answer Alexa gives or song she plays also shows up on the Echo app too, so you can dive deeper into that Wikipedia entry or manage your to-do list. That feature was far more convenient than I’d thought it would be, and, again, my son found homework a whole lot easier to do.