Alexa, Make Me a Samich

imageSitting on the counter in the kitchen where the radio used to sit is our personal cloud servant in a can.  Her name is Alexa and she comes from Amazon and is otherwise known as Amazon Echo.  If you are not familiar with the product, it’s sort of like Siri in a stand alone bluetooth speaker that is connected to WiFi.  You can ask it questions like “Alexa, what will the weather be like tomorrow” or “Alexa, What year did the movie Animal House come out” and she will speak the answers.  You can also say “play NPR” and it will use internet radio and knowledge of where you are to stream you local NPR station.  With an imageAmazon Prime account you can say something like “Alexa, play some Rolling Stones” and it does.  There is a companion app for your phone and tablet.  You can add things to a to-do list or grocery list (Alexa, put Fruit Loops on the grocery list) and they will show up in your app.

I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised with how well the system works.  It’s pretty fast.  The ability of the device to pick up your voice from across the room and understand you is truly impressive.  The sound is good and can get really loud without breaking up.  The hands free thing is a lot more useful than I thought it would be.

They have only been shipping to Prime members.  We ordered ours in January and got it just last week.  They seem to add features regularly and because all the brains are in the could they usually don’t even need to update the software on the device itself.

Alexa won’t make you a sandwich (I asked) but she has some funny quips if you ask her pop culture type questions and she has enough useful features to justify her $99 price tag and dethrone the venerable CD/Radio unit that had been ensconced at the end of the counter for 20+ years.  I think this is going to be one of Amazon’s wins.

2 comments to Alexa, Make Me a Samich

  • Thom Lawrence

    Sounds pretty techno-cool. But I still whine about the loss of stereo music. I can understand our kids not knowing about quadrophonic sound, it was a fad. But listening to Whole Lotta Love, mano e mono, loses something.

  • Anonymous

    HiFi’s glory days were in the 70s, the 80 brought the transistors and with CDs started the digital revolution, Sometime in the 90s, I think it may have been November 17th 1992 at 1:47pm quality was officially replaced with quantity. I suspect our kids miss true high fidelity about as much as we missed radio shows like Amos and Andy when we were growing up.