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Thread: Amazon Echo Review: Billion Dollar Business?

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Amazon Echo Review: Billion Dollar Business?

    Amazon Echo Review: Billion Dollar Business?-amazon-echo.jpgDoes anyone else have an Amazon Echo (Alexa)? We got one over the holidays and I must say I’m impressed. It really is a nice piece of technology. More of a toy than a tool right now but I do see the possibility for a big home automation push here: Lights, thermostat, Fireplace, TV, etc…

    Originally I bought it because my daughter in-law is named Alexa so I thought it would be funny but we actually use it in the kitchen (it’s a great timer) to get recipes, creates shopping lists, measurement help, and play music. We walk by it on our way to our cars so we get weather, sports, and traffic updates.

    You can also use it for spelling, dictionary, and encyclopedia type things. It even tells jokes. When you get one Amazon has a tips and tricks email then send you periodically for new features and uses. This really is just the tip of the iceberg. Set-up was easy

    I haven’t seen much Echo advertising but Business Insider has done a couple of articles on it including this one: Get ready for Amazon's third billion-dollar business: Echo

    I stand corrected. There is an Echo commercial coming next week for the Super Bowl:



    Echo was also mentioned on the Amazon quarterly call:

    Neil Doshi

    Two questions, please. And one, it seems like the Echo did perform well. Can you talk more broadly about your Internet of Things ambitions and kind of how Echo plays into that strategy?

    Brian Olsavsky
    So on the Echo, we like what - how Echo has done. We're really excited about the ecosystem and some of the skills that are being added to Echo, as well as some of the other devices that are taking advantage of Alexa, which is kind of the brains behind Echo.

    So we like our device business in general. As you probably saw from the press release, we had a good Q4, where we did almost doubled, or double what we did last year. So very excited about the devices. We like that they pump more energy into Prime and really the whole ecosystem.

    Not sure on the Internet of Things, but it's very exciting for devices standpoint. And the brains of Echo are in the AWS cloud. And so, Echo gets new capabilities all the time as Alexa gets better and better.

    I'm guessing this is all part of Amazon buying a fabless chip company, but a billion dollar business?

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    ippisl
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    I wouldn't put much faith into business insider in that matter, they are financed by Bezos.

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ippisl View Post
    I wouldn't put much faith into business insider in that matter, they are financed by Bezos.
    Bezos owns 3%, the other 97% is owned by European publisher Axel Springer as of 9-2015. Business Insider used to state that Bezos had a share before they were acquired whenever they wrote about Amazon but I don't think they do that anymore. Different rules over there I guess.

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    Amazon invited me to pre-buy the Echo device, but I was a bit concerned about my privacy and having Amazon hear literally every word in my living room. I'm curious to hear what others think about such an always listening device.

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    Expert hist78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Payne View Post
    Amazon invited me to pre-buy the Echo device, but I was a bit concerned about my privacy and having Amazon hear literally every word in my living room. I'm curious to hear what others think about such an always listening device.
    It's the trust. If you trust Facebook or any other chatting/social network apps, then it's not a big problem.

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    Fantastic! If Echo (or I should say Alexa ) can do all that - listen to others, acquire intelligence, and advice on several matters, then why can't they take the place of Cobots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Payne View Post
    Amazon invited me to pre-buy the Echo device, but I was a bit concerned about my privacy and having Amazon hear literally every word in my living room. I'm curious to hear what others think about such an always listening device.
    There is something to be said about a healthy dose of paranoia I suppose but not if you carry around a smartphone or do you turn it off whilst you are not using it? I have the same issue with Siri and Google Voice and just about any other app on my phone and laptop. And just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not listening. Even a fitness bad our your biking rig can be hijacked for the greater evil I supposed.

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    At least with Google and Siri I push a button to have the device start listening, so I presume that they are not always listening before the button is pushed.

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    Blogger Don Dingee's Avatar
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    I do see the possibility for a big home automation push.
    Hmmmm. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No Thread, although it can talk to a Nest with Wi-Fi. No ZigBee. No AllJoyn support.

    It does talk to a Samsung SmartThings hub, I see someone hooked up a Logitech Harmony remote to a Samsung TV with Echo voice commands and it might work directly with the just-released TV with integrated hub (haven't confirmed that). An Amazon/Samsung partnership could be interesting.

    A voice interface to control other home devices ("lock front door", "turn on back sprinklers", "shut off that **** smoke detector", etc.) would be cool.

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    Blogger Don Dingee's Avatar
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    I'm guessing this is all part of Amazon buying a fabless chip company ...
    Not an Amazon chip inside (yet, probably too soon after acquisition in a 2+ year lifecycle). TI DaVinci DM3725 processor, Qualcomm Wi-Fi/bluetooth combo.

    Best teardown I've seen so far:
    Amazon Echo teardown gets inside the smart speaker powered by the cloud - CNET

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Payne View Post
    At least with Google and Siri I push a button to have the device start listening, so I presume that they are not always listening before the button is pushed.
    There is a "mute" button on the Echo to stop it from listening.

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    Admin Daniel Nenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Payne View Post
    At least with Google and Siri I push a button to have the device start listening, so I presume that they are not always listening before the button is pushed.
    Can they spy on you through your smartphone microphone? - MediaCenter Panda Security

    Your phone is not secure Daniel, no connected device is nor will it ever be in my opinion. That is something you really need to come to terms with.

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    A friend of mine actually purchased this device.
    It wasn't accepting his voice at all. Proved to be a complete waste of money for him.
    Do you guys have any suggestions?

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    I've seen YouTube videos of people with thick accents (Scottish) trying to use a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo, however the device was unable to parse his words. Yes, room for improvement, because there are so many accents and languages to learn for these devices and their speech recognition algorithms in the cloud.

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