Nearly a year ago, Amazon unveiled a tower like speaker box that had intentions to become your personal home assistant. A sci-fi, Star Trek like, computer that you won’t be able to live without.

Dubbed Amazon Echo, the built in Alexa personal assistant had the potential to take voice commands and produce spoken information in return. With hands-free communication for music, news, weather, statistics, questions and more it appeared to be a step in the right direction for the futuristic home voice assistant.

Originally, Amazon offered a unique discount to their Amazon Prime subscribers for $99 whereas everybody else was forced into a $199 price. While in beta, Amazon required an invitation to even purchase this new product. As a nominee to purchase the unit, I thought long and hard about whether it was worth a $99 cost for a product that may never reach the general public and eventually decided against it at the time.

On June 23rd 2015, Amazon took what was a beta concept product and has turned it into reality, making it readily available to the general public for a middle price of $179.

© Amazon Image

With the release of the unit and products shipping mid-July, Amazon claims that the unit is a connected home integration unit that can now do even more. With a simple voice command, you can have Pandora start your favorite radio, adjust the lighting with smart light bulbs, have Echo (Alexa) read you an audio book, inform you of upcoming events, or even provide you with general answers for questions.

We’ve all seen the futuristic TV shows, like 2057, that predict the personal home assistant and this new Amazon product is something that is making fancy a reality and while I do not have a unit yet to test with, other reviews around are marking it as a unique and different device.

Vice President of Amazon, Greg Hart, had this to say about their new Amazon Echo: “The customer response to Amazon Echo has been incredibly positive, and we’ve been working hard to build more as quickly as possible. We are grateful to our early customers for their incredible engagement and for providing us with invaluable feedback to help shape Echo as it evolves—with their help, we’ve been able to add features like Audible, Pandora, home automation, sports scores, calendar, and more… We’re excited to get Echo into the hands of even more customers and continue to invent new features and experiences.”

© 2015 Justin Vendette