Amazon eyes the home of the future

Amazon's 'Echo' takes on Siri, Cortana & Google
Amazon's 'Echo' takes on Siri, Cortana & Google   

Amazon's newest device, "Echo," is a standalone Siri-like virtual assistant for the home. Just utter "Alexa" and she will provide such features as music, news and the weather.

"The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences," the company said on its website.

The Amazon Echo
Amazon | YouTube
The Amazon Echo

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Michael Pachter, senior analyst at Wedbush Securities, said "The voice control gimmick was tried by Microsoft with Kinect, and although it worked for a while, people quickly realized that they don't need to talk to their consumer electronics. We have Siri on our phones. ... This speaker will let us do what we can do with an app on our iPad, and I just don't find interaction with an app particularly obtrusive."

"With that said, if it has good sound, it might have value solely as a speaker, and the Internet connectivity gimmick could be a free option," he added.

There are a few personal assistant devices that the Amazon Echo will have to compete with, including Microsoft's Cortana and Google Now.

The Echo is set at a price of $199, or $99 for Amazon Prime members, but a release date has not yet been announced.