Since its release to Amazon Prime members in November 2014, followed by its roll out to consumers in November 2015, the Amazon Echo has come a long way.
Initially introduced as a personal assistant for home users, the capabilities of Amazon Echo have evolved in the few months since the Bluetooth capable speaker hit the U.S. retail stores.
The abilities of the Amazon Echo have developed manifold and now go beyond it being merely a voice-controlled personal assistant. Yes, the Amazon Echo can now do more than dim the living room lights or give you a rain check.
As the $179.99 Amazon Echo evolves, so does Alexa - its personalized voice assistant. So what are some of the cool things that issuing commands at Amazon Echo brings users' way? You can get Alexa to hail an Uber cab for you, stream songs from Spotify, give you updates on the Super Bowl or movies and even order you that pepperoni pizza from Dominos in a jiffy!
What has helped Alexa evolve in this short span? In June 2015, Amazon released the ASK or Alexa Skills Kit, which allowed developers to integrate their products or services into the voice command engine of Amazon Echo.
"With a few lines of code, you can easily integrate existing web services with Alexa or, in just a few hours, you can build entirely new experiences designed around voice," noted Amazon at the time.
Not only is Alexa now able to accomplish more useful tasks, it is the perfect companion for consumers who are too lazy to do things themselves. The feature is set to grow in the near term as it is slated to power Ford Sync, which is a part of the carmaker's SmartDrive platform. This means that voice commands issued to any new Ford vehicles, that deploy the SmartDRive platform, will be spearheaded by Alexa.
Toyota too is rumored to be considering the use of the technology in its cars and speculations are rife that other carmakers such as Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Peugeot will also be possibly integrating Alexa into their manufactured vehicles.
With the possible integration of Alexa into vehicles, one can issue a command to Alexa that they are hungry and the intelligent assistant will guide the driver to a nearby eatery or throw up deal offers.
With Alexa poised to spread its reach in the near term, more consumer services will be potentially tying their offerings into it. The advantage of the new features making their way to Amazon Echo is that they are seamless.