The Amazon Echo, which incorporates the virtual assistant Alexa, distances itself from Google's Google Now, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana by not being bound to a smartphone or a device with a display.
With Amazon Echo, there is no need for users to swipe or touch the device to initiate Alexa, as the virtual assistant is always ready to receive voice commands. Amazon has positioned the Echo and Alexa as integral components of a smart home, as Alexa can be programmed to work with other smart devices.
Amazon has found success with the sales of the Amazon Echo, with the online retail giant revealing that the device was the item with the most sales across all products with a price tag of over $100.
One of the device's fans, interestingly is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
"I'm excited right now about the Amazon Echo, oddly enough," Wozniak said in an interview with CNBC, adding that it could be the next big platform for the near future.
Wozniak revealed that the Amazon Echo has become an important part of his home, as the device can be spoken to from anywhere in the room. In addition, speaking to the Echo to complete tasks circumvents the need to memorize apps and navigate a confusing app landscape.
The interview with CNBC covered a wide range of topics, including the mass market potential of virtual reality technology and and ongoing feud between Apple and the FBI over encryption.
Since the launch of Amazon Echo in November 2014, the device, along with Alexa, has further developed from a simple voice-controlled assistant with the addition of a variety of commands. For example, users can ask Alexa to request for a ride through Uber, stream songs through Spotify, ask for updates on events such as the Super Bowl and order pizza from Dominos. In Wozniak's case, one of his uses for the Echo include ordering for items online, as the Echo remembers the user's last order for certain items on Amazon. Wozniak said that he even ordered his second Echo by saying "Order me an Echo."
The Amazon Echo is being sold for $179.99, and is described by Amazon as "a hands-free speaker you control with your voice."