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Christmas Gift Guide

The increasingly connected Amazon Echo

Philips Hue LED Light Bulbs

Philips Hue Lux

Lifx

Belkin WeMo Switch

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

Belkin WeMo Light Switch

Automatic

IFTTT

Orange Chef

Garageio

SmartThings

Insteon

Wink

Scout DIY Home Security

Mint

StubHub

Amazon Echo is a Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled smart speaker with "Alexa"-powered voice controls built right in. After launching late last year as an invite-only product, Echo is now available to everybody on Amazon, and with a new open development kit for third-party device makers, it looks primed to play a growing role in the smart home. Click through to see everything Alexa can talk to -- and the integrations that are in the works, too.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Echo first dipped its toes into smart-home waters by integrating directly with a select number of popular third-party gadgets. The most notable was the Philips Hue line of color-changing LED light bulbs. Sync them up with Amazon's smart speaker, and you'll be able to tell Alexa to turn them on and off, or dim them up and down.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

You won't, however, be able to tell them to change colors (at least not yet). For that reason, syncing Alexa up with the white-light-only Philips Hue Lux bulbs might make more sense.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips Hue isn't your only option for Echo-compatible lighting -- there's also Lifx, which makes color-changing LED bulbs with Wi-Fi smarts. Unlike Philips, the Lifx integration's color controls are already up and running -- that means you can tell Alexa to change to color of the bulb.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Another product that Alexa can control right now is the Belkin WeMo Switch. Plug it in, then plug something else into it, and Alexa can turn it on or off at your command.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Alexa can also control the Belkin WeMo Insight Switgch, which does the same thing as the original, but adds energy-tracking smarts.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

Belkin also makes an automatable WeMo Light Switch. If you're comfy with an installation that's a bit more hands-on, it's an easy way to smarten up a light fixture in your home. With Echo on board, you can let Alexa call the shots.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

One of Alexa's newest integrations is with the Automatic connected car gadget, which plugs into your vehicle's onboard diagnostic port. Sync it up with Amazon Echo, and you'll be able to ask Alexa how much gas you've got in your tank, or even where you parked your car last.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Amazon Echo also has its own channel on IFTTT, a free online automation service. That makes it possible to craft automation "recipes" where Echo triggers other IFTTT-compatible smart gadgets and Web services.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Orange Chef is another name that Amazon is investing in. The product is a smart countertop that senses in ingredients and weighs your food as you're cooking. With Alexa on board, you'll be able to ask her about the nutritional content of whatever it is you're making.

Caption by / Photo by Orange Chef

Amazon's also backing development for Garageio, a smart gadget that lets you open and close your garage door from your phone. Connect it with Echo, and Alexa will take it from there.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

Alexa can control entire smart home platforms, too. One example is SmartThings -- hook it up with Amazon Echo, and you can use Alexa to control anything in your setup.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Insteon is another example of a smart-home platform that works with Amazon Echo.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

Same goes for the Wink Hub. If you're using it to control automated lights and switches, you'll be able to sync all of them with Alexa.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Moving forward, Amazon hope that a growing number of third parties will jump in under Alexa's umbrella. Scout Home Security is one that's already in the mix -- Amazon is investing in the system as part of its $100 million Alexa fund, and basic Echo controls for arming and disarming your security system are already available.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

App makers can take advantage of Alexa, too. The popular money-managing Mint app is planning to do just that.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

StubHub works with Echo, too -- turn the integration on, and you'll be able to browse upcoming events in your area simply by asking Alexa.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET
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