By Jack Linshi
November 6, 2014

Amazon announced on Thursday its latest product, a voice-controlled smart speaker called Amazon Echo.

The Siri-like personal assistant which plugs in to a wall outlet can be left powered-on 24/7 and responds to commands like “will it rain tomorrow?” or “play music by Bruno Mars,” according to Amazon. Amazon Echo connects to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and the cloud, enabling it to perform commands like stream music on Spotify, add an item to a shopping list, or search online for the most recent information about a question.

The roughly 3 in. by 9 in. cylindrical device isn’t listening and responding to everything it hears, though: in order to activate the device, users must use a “wake word,” a name or term preceding the voice command.

Amazon Echo retails at $199, but for a limited time only it will cost only $99 for Amazon Prime members. Customers must request an invitation for more details, including when the smart speaker will become available.

 

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