What’s Echo Look? More Importantly, What Could It Become?

Publication Date: 4/27/17 - This week Amazon announced the U.S. release* of a new Alexa device, which will initially be available to purchase by invitation only. This is a lot like when the original Echo was first announced. So now Alexa watchers are asking: what's Echo Look? But I think the better question is: what could Echo Look become? *For the time being this is a US-only launch, but UK...

New Alexa Enabled Devices: Watches, Car Mounts, Speakers and More!

Publication Date: 4/4/17 - By now most of you have surely heard about Alexa being added to the Amazon mobile app on iPhones, which essentially makes any iPhone running the Amazon mobile app an Alexa enabled device. It's on the way for Android, too. But what you may not realize is that oh so quietly, manufacturers have been turning out all kinds of new Alexa enabled devices.     First, a...

Why It’s Probably A Bad Time To Buy An Echo

Publication Date: 3/28/17 - I'm about the last person you'd expect to discourage you from buying any Alexa device, but if you haven't got one already, the next several weeks are probably a bad time to buy an Echo.     Something's Coming... I recently shared reports from reputable tech outlets about Amazon's plans to release one or more new Alexa devices this year, as well as significant...

Alexa Skills Store + Happy Birthday Stupid Alexa Tricks

Publication Date: 11/6/16 - Mondays are normally devoted to Stupid Alexa Tricks, and I have a few, but the bigger news is this: Amazon has finally opened an Alexa Skills Store. First, let's all take a moment to wish Alexa a happy second birthday. Alexa turned two years old on 11/6/16, and has a few special Easter eggs ready for the occasion.     Say the wake word followed by any of the...

Amazon Music Unlimited + Alexa: What Do You Get?

Publication Date: 10/12/16 - Today Amazon finally announced its long-rumored subscription streaming service, Amazon Music Unlimited, and is promoting it with particular emphasis on Alexa voice commands you can use with it. So with Amazon Music Unlimited + Alexa, what do you stand to get?     Amazon Music vs. Amazon Prime Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited Let's start at the beginning. To...

Alexa Wake Words Now Available To Outside Devs

Publication Date: 10/11/16 - Last week Amazon's Alexa team made a pretty groundbreaking announcement: developers of third party devices now have access to the Alexa wake words and can use them with their own devices.     Amazon's even sharing instructions for how to make your own Alexa device with a Raspberry Pi using this new functionality. From Amazon's Ted Karczewski: What makes the...

Google Home Takes On Amazon Echo. In Other News, Jeff Bezos Sleeps Like A Baby.

Publication Date: 10/4/16 - So today Google finally had its big launch event and one of the devices on the dais was Google Home. Here are all the reasons why Google Home poses no real threat to Amazon's established Alexa line of smart home devices.     Google Home does not boast a more impressive feature set. When it comes to innovative tech, whoever succeeds in planting the flag and...

Dot 2 Price Complaints From Dot 1 Owners

When the Dot 2 (UK visitors click here) was announced at a little more than half what the Dot 1 cost, I expected much rejoicing among everyone who's been wanting a Dot ever since the first generation sold out. What I didn't see coming was all the complaining from the first-gen Dot owners who now feel: they overpaid for the Dot 1 / were tricked into overpaying for a Dot 1 / that Prime members were...

Alexa Push Notifications: No, Alexa Will Not Start Talking “Out of the Blue”

**9/14/16 - ECHO UK and DOT NOTE** The second gen Dot became available for order today (see the bottom of this post - there are now Amazon UK links available in addition to the usual US links) and Alexa is now welcome in the UK as well. I'll be doing a full comparison and write-up on the new Dot versus the old when mine arrives. The web's been abuzz since The Information published an article on...

Alexa On Fire Tablets: It’s A Thing!

Today's post is normally dedicated to Freebie Friday, but Amazon just announced something I'm sure my readers will want to know about right away: Alexa's coming to Amazon's Fire tablet line!     This news came as something of a footnote to Amazon's announcement that a new Fire HD8 tablet is being released. The new tablet has more memory, a faster processor and better battery life, all...