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Smart Home

Amazon Echo Look comes out of trial mode to judge everyone's outfits

Amazon has expanded the availability of its Alexa-powered, internet-connected, $200 camera that gives out fashion advice.

The Amazon Echo Look will help you catalog and keep track of your wardrobe. Plus, its app offers some advice if you need some input when choosing between two outfits.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The $200 Amazon Echo Look, one of Amazon's most niche versions of its Echo smart speaker, has had limited availability since the online retailer released it last May. You had to request an invitation to buy the Echo Look, an internet-connected camera that takes your picture and gives you fashion advice.

That exclusivity ends today. Amazon has made the Echo Look available for anyone to order without an invitation, the company announced Wednesday. This is similar to what Amazon did with the original Echo, which was available by invitation only for seven months before its general release in 2015.

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Linda Ranz, Amazon's director of Echo product management, said the company spent the past year listening to feedback from the Echo Look's first users and making tweaks before the wide release. 

"It was surprising to us that customers would be so open to this idea of fashion and technology coming together," Ranz said.

The Echo Look app will give you suggestions for clothes that will pair well with pieces you've photographed. You'll be able to buy those recommendations directly from Amazon.

Amazon

The Echo Look shares many of the same features as Amazon's other Echo speakers. It's powered by Alexa, Amazon's voice-activated digital assistant. You can use the Echo Look to stream music, order pizza or set a timer, among many other tasks. And you can connect it to your internet-connected devices like light bulbs or thermostats so you can use voice commands to control your smart home.

But the Echo Look is the oddball in the Echo family. Amazon has positioned this product to be more of a wardrobe-centric addition to your closet rather than a smart home command center. 

The Echo Look's built-in cameras take full-body selfies and short video clips to capture what clothes you're wearing when you say, "Alexa, take a photo" or "Alexa, take a video." You can use those pictures to keep an inventory of your wardrobe. (The Echo Show, another Amazon smart speaker, also has a camera, but its main purpose is for video calling.) Ranz said customers have used this feature when they shop; they can check their closet virtually before they buy another black cardigan, for example.

The biggest draw of the Echo Look is its ability to give outfit feedback. You can submit pairs of photos of two different outfits to the Echo Look's app Style Check feature. The app uses input from stylists and artificial intelligence to tell you what outfit looks better and provide some reasons why one choice works better than the other. And if you're a bit of a masochist, you can submit your photos to the general public through Amazon Spark, an Instagram-like social network Amazon created for its shoppers. 

Amazon has also added more features to the Echo Look's app. For example, the app will suggest pieces that it thinks will pair well with a specific top or bottom you're wearing in a photo. And of course, you'll be able to buy those recommended clothes directly from Amazon. You'll also be able to sort your outfit photos by color.

The Echo Look customer is different than someone interested in the other Echo speakers, Ranz said. The former is more focused on how they represent themselves through clothes; the latter is an early adopter who's more interested in the technology of the speaker. But folks who use the Echo Look have also caught on to the speaker's smart home capabilities. For example, people often put the Echo Look in their bedrooms, so they use it as an alarm clock or ask Alexa for the day's weather before they pick an outfit.

"They're exploring all the other things that Alexa does," Ranz said.

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