Amazon Echo: Siri-like Digital Home Assistant

E-commerce giant Amazon just announced a completely different take on the digital personal assistant, taking it beyond the smartphone and into your living room. Dubbed Amazon Echo, the always-ready, connected cylinder-shaped device hears your voice and answers your questions from across the room.

Amazon Echo looks somewhat like a circular speaker. The company said itEUs designed around your voice and it always stays on. After it hears you say the wake word, EUAlexa,EU you can ask it anything. For example, you can ask it to play music, tell you the latest news, give you a weather report, or search for information on the Internet. ItEUs sort of like Siri or Cortana, but untethered from the smartphone.

Some of the specific examples Amazon offers include questions like: Will it rain tomorrow?; Set my alarm for 8 a.m.; Play music by Bruno Mars; How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?; Add gelato to my shopping list; When is Thanksgiving?; Play my EUdinner partyEU playlist; Wikipedia: Abraham Lincoln; WhatEUs the weather in Los Angeles this weekend?; and Add EUmake hotel reservationsEU to my to-do list.

Beam-Forming Technology

EUTucked under Echo's light ring is an array of seven microphones," Amazon said. "These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction. With enhanced noise cancellation, Echo can hear you ask a question even while it's playing music.EU Echo is also a speaker that can light up a room with sound.

According to Amazon, EchoEUs brain is in the cloud. It runs on Amazon Web services so it keeps learning and adding new features. WhatEUs more, Echo learns your speech patterns, vocabulary and personnel preferences as you use it.

EUEcho has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360-degree, omni-directional audio to fill the room with immersive sound,EU the company said on...

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