I know someone who bought one and he's extremely happy with it though he had to do a little fiddling to have it work properly in Australia. Even now the Echo still doesn't read phone numbers correctly - we have 8 digit phone numbers whereas the U.S. have 7 digit phone numbers. - Part of getting the Echo working correctly was to set it to a location with the same time zone as Australia, Guam was the obvious choice here. Then the problem arose of getting the App from the IOS App store, the Echo App isn't available in Australia so a workaround had to be put into place. I don't recall all of what had to be done now as it was some time ago - I actually posted all the steps required to techno-chat at the time - but now my friend can sign into his account on the web and control the echo from there - well most of it -. As was written in the original mail, there are 3 different echos available right now and a review of each model was in Access World a couple of months ago, turns out the original echo is by far the best one to buy and - from the demos I've heard - I'd be pretty happy with that too. Amazon does have competition from the Google Home device, the Google Home was demonstrated on the BBC Radio 4 Today show a month or so back, I actually heard the demo live, Google is to launch the Home soon. If you'd rather get ahead of the Home and the Echo - and you have an Android phone - then you can either try the Google Allo App or - if you'd rather your Android device be shiny and new with all the features of Amazon Echo and Google Home Built-in - buy a Google Pixel smartphone.

On 15/10/2016 6:22 AM, Gordon Smith wrote:
Hello everybody

I’ve been silently watching this one for about 5 months now, and tonight I placed an order for one. It isn’t just a speaker that you can listen from, it’s a “Listener” that you can talk too. You add all your commands verbally, and you can now have it do quite a wide range of tasks for you. It’s the first step along the way towards a “Smart” home; read on:

Amazon's voice-activated smart home speaker is undeniably futuristic, but it's also practical and accessible. With a rapidly growing slate of features and integrations, it's easy to get excited about the Echo's potential.

*THE BAD* The Echo's sound quality is uneven at times, with weak bass at high volumes. The growing list of "Skills" in the Alexa app could also benefit from better organisation.

*THE BOTTOM LINE* More than a year after its debut, the Echo is smarter than ever, and one of the best connected home products money can currently buy.

    Autumn 2016 update

Since introducing the original Amazon Echo in November 2014, Amazon has continued to refresh and expand its lineup of hands-free, voice-enabled speakers. In April, the company introduced the Echo <https://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-echo-dot/>Dot, which is a smaller version of the Echo, and in September returned with an updated version of the Dot, simultaneously cutting its price almost in half to $50(US) or £50 (UK Sterling).

This new Echo Dot, has a slightly sleeker design than the original, though it comes equipped with the same array of seven microphones and advanced noise-cancelling technology. Amazon says that the new Dot features a more powerful speech processor, which delivers improved far-field speech recognition accuracy. It's currently available for preorder and will ship on 28 October.

The original, more expensive Echo can fill a room with sound. The Dot features much of the same functionality as the Echo, just with a less powerful speaker and a line-out plug on the back. In April, also Amazon introduced the $130.00 Echo Tap. Because it runs on a battery, you need to hit a button to initiate interactions; it's less convenient than the always-listening Echo and Dot, but it's also portable. And once you do push the button, you can issue voice commands to Alexa, play music from your phone or stream it over Wi-Fi, check the weather or news, and issue commands to control your smart home.

I can’t wait! I’ve ordered the full Echo, so if there’s interest I shall produce an extensive audio demonstration to show it off in all its glory.


My compliments and kindest regards
Gordon Smith:
<gor...@mac-access.net <mailto:gor...@mac-access.net>>

Accessibility & Information Technology Support Specialist.
+44 (0)7907 823971


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