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Amazon launches Siri, Google Now counterpart 'Echo'

Apart from taking commands such as "play music by Bruno Mars" or "add gelato to my shopping list", Amazon said the device accesses the internet to answer questions.

Soham Chatterjee   Bangalore     Last Updated: November 7, 2014  | 16:17 IST
Amazon Echo, a smart speaker you can talk to
Photo for representation purposes only. (Source: Reuters)

Do you want to talk to your speaker? E-commerce major Amazon.com has launched Amazon Echo, a speaker you leave on all day and give it voice directions, like Siri on an Apple iPhone.

Apart from taking commands such as "play music by Bruno Mars" or "add gelato to my shopping list", Amazon said the device accesses the internet to answer questions such as "when is Thanksgiving?" and "what is the weather forecast?"

Priced at US $199 (or US $99 for members for the online retail giant's Amazon Prime loyalty scheme), Amazon Echo is available on an invitation-only basis in coming weeks.

Amazon said the speaker, which runs on Amazon Web Services, continually learns a user's speech patterns and preferences.

Users start the speaker up saying the wake up word, "Alexa".

They can then feed Amazon Echo commands or questions or, if they want, wirelessly stream music web services such as Spotify, iTunes and Pandora via their mobiles.

Amazon has had an unusually busy year, developing a mobile phone, video productions and grocery deliveries.

In October, the company forecast sales for the crucial holiday quarter that disappointed Wall Street and investors who are eager to see Amazon curtail its ambitions and start delivering sustainable profits.

(Reuters)

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