Amazon Alexa, Echo and Echo Dot Coming to the UK
Amazon has announced that Alexa, the brain that powers Amazon Echo, is coming to the UK, along with two Alexa-enabled devices: Echo and the all-new Echo Dot.
Amazon Echo and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers designed to be always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo and Echo Dot—just ask and ‘she’ll’ answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, recite your calendar, check sports scores, control lights around your home, and more. With Echo and Echo Dot’s far-field voice control, you can do all this from across the room just by asking, says Amazon.
Since Alexa runs in the cloud, she is always getting smarter they claim, plus, third party developers are building new skills for Alexa every day. There will be thousands of Alexa skills available for UK customers at launch including skills from Spotify, Uber, Philips Hue, Hive, Just Eat, National Rail Enquiries, and more.
“Millions across the US have already fallen in love with Alexa. And, predictably, she’s even more likeable with a British accent,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “We’re delighted to be bringing Echo and Alexa to the UK.”
Amazon Echo has an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation so it can clearly hear you from across the room. The technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, the music currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Echo and Alexa hear you clearly, even when in a noisy room.
Echo uses on-device software to detect the wake word, “Alexa.” When it detects the wake word, Echo’s light ring turns blue and begins streaming the request to the cloud. Once there, Alexa uses the power of Amazon Web Services to process the request. The cloud uses a neural network-based speech recognition system to recognise and respond to you from a distance.
The Echo is also designed to provide good audio with downward-firing speakers that they say produces 360° omni-directional sound to fill the room. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet.
The Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Directly connect Echo Dot to speakers with an audio cable or via Bluetooth, and add voice-control to your home stereo system. Plus, with its small built-in speaker, you can place Echo Dot in the bedroom and use it as a smart alarm clock, or in any room as a voice assistant to control smart home devices, and more.
The Echo Dot also works with certain smart home devices such as lights, switches, fans, thermostats, and more.
Echo is available for pre-order for £149.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/echo and will start shipping in the coming weeks although Prime Members can snap one up for £99.99 for a limited time. Echo Dot is available for pre-order as a single device for £49.99, in a 6-pack, and in a 12-pack at www.amazon.co.uk/echodot and will start shipping next month.
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