US and European customers can choose from black or a new white version of Amazon's acclaimed voice-controlled speaker.
The Amazon Echo has arrived in Europe, bringing Amazon's acclaimed voice-activated personal assistant Alexa with it. And both US and European customers can soon choose from black or white models.
The Echo is a speaker that also acts as a hub for smart devices and software services, all controlled by talking to Alexa. It's been on sale in the US since 2014 -- in black -- and will go on sale in the UK today and Germany this autumn.
In the UK, the Echo will cost £150. If you're a Prime customer and you order in the next two days, it will cost £100.
In Germany, the Echo will cost 180 euros. It's an invite-only thing for now.
Microphones in the Echo are always listening so whenever you say "Alexa" or "Amazon" or "Echo" the speaker prepares to perform a task, from controlling your tunes on music players including Spotify to ordering a taxi or a pizza.
At an event in London today, Amazon showed off how Alexa adapts to British accents and customs. The UK model of Alexa talks back to you in a British accent and will offer British answers if asked to spell words like "colour" or measure the size of a pint.
You can even offer up quips from classic British comedy "Monty Python" and Alexa will reply with the relevant punchline. And when you ask it about the latest Spurs game, it knows you mean Tottenham Hotspur and not the San Antonio Spurs.
Alexa's abilities can be extended with "skills" -- sort of like apps that you install to complete specific tasks. New skills for the UK include support for Sky Sports, the Telegraph, the Guardian and smart home partners including EDF Energy and Nest.
After the Echo came two smaller devices, the Echo Dot and the wireless, battery-powered Tap. Amazon today announced a new version of the Echo Dot for the US and the UK and Germany. It comes in both black and white and has a redesigned voice processor. In the UK it's £50, in the US it's $50, and in Germany it's 60 euros. You can also buy them in packs of 6 or 12, in case you have a really big house.