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CNET First Look
Amazon Echo: So much more than a smart speakerMore than a year after its debut, Amazon's breakout speaker with its virtual assistant Alexa might be the most transformative piece of home tech money can buy.
[MUSIC] It's well over a year since Amazon unveiled its cloud-connected, voice-activated smart speaker. Now, Amazon Echo has come quite a long way, adding all sorts of features and integrations, and extra tricks up its sleeve to help make your smart home smarter. At its chore, it phases itself at a music streamer, you can ask a Lexus to stream any set of music or any Specific song or band you wanna hear, and if it's in the Amazon Prime music library, it will play it. Now Echo works with even more services, including Pandora and Spotify, so you have access to a lot more music. But Echo is more than that. This is not just a music Streamer with cloud connected smarts. This is a connected home experience. This is a product that gives you the smart home you didn't know you wanted. What Amazon figured out is that we interact with our homes more than anything and Echo can serve as a better user interface for your home. Think about all the things you might do in your daily routine, listening to music, listening to a podcast, setting a kitchen timer as you cook, turning your lights on and off. Echo can make all those things easier and more convenient. And more futuristic in a way it's also accessible. That's a pretty impressive accomplishment for a single product. Now for all those smart home integrations, anything from Falcon window switches to Philips Hue bulbs to smart things, controlled setups, there's still more which Echo can do. I love to see Echo integrate with smart TV sets. We [UNKNOWN] to turn the TV on to CNN or whatever channel you wanna watch And on the sound quality front, while Echo provides a good experience in general for most environments, the base is a little bit weak at high volumes. It would be great if Echo could let you add additional speakers interfaced with other subwoofers and systems in your home to pipe the audio through and make it more of a control point. All of that said, Echo's potential is very clear, At this point. Amazon has done an admirable job of rolling out different third party integrations and all sorts of cool tricks through IFTTT or through other products that work with it. All of that keeps making an already smart product a lot smarter and more useful in your home. And that's only gonna continue as time goes forward. [BLANK_AUDIO]