Is the Amazon Echo coming to the UK on 16 September 2016? Nothing official from Amazon but a Bing search throws up the following link to a pre-order page on Amazon.co.uk which currently doesn’t seem to be live.
Update: Nah…..looks like Bing actually picked up on the release date of a CD called Echoes by the Young Guns, not Amazon Echo. Sorry, that’s entirely my fault as I was so looking forward to getting Alexa.
A couple of months ago I received an Amazon Echo. It’s a unique device in many ways. Most interesting likely is the fact that it talks back to you — declines your requests in some cases. A disembodied voice coming from a strange device is odd enough on its own, but it gets much more complicated than that, as we aren’t factoring in what it can do.
So here’s what I use it for — I play music while I work, it’s a great speaker and Pandora works quite well with it. If you use iHeartRadio then you can set that up as well. Or you can just request a song, providing it’s available in Prime Music.
I’m also using it daily for cooking, Bad habits of leaving things on the stove or in the oven too long can be remedied by saying something along the lines of “Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes”.
You can also ask it for the weather or a traffic report, among many other things. It’s an endless source of fascination for guests,
There is a darker side — quite literally, actually. It has nothing to do with Alexa (yes, that’s its name. They’re all named that). No this dark side comes from my experiment and is my own doing.
The Echo is compatible with a home automation hub, which in turn is compatible with GE Link light bulbs. The Amazon device is great, the bulbs are fine. The weak link lies in the middle. Most of the time when I ask it “Alexa, turn on/off living room lights” everything goes smoothly. Other times I get a reply along the lines of “That command doesn’t work with that device”. This means resetting the hub, no fun in the dark.
Do I recommend the Amazon Echo? Yes. Do I recommend the house of cards that is my lighting setup? No. Those cards can, and do, collapse. The home automation features will get better, but for now the setup is a major pain and not for the average user. However, the hub is working to improve all the time and I still love the product, I just wish I didn’t reset quite as often as I do.