My Amazon Echo arrived last week and the family has enjoyed playing with it quite a bit. It arrived very well packaged and was easy to set up with the Amazon Echo App for iOS. We were immediately able to ask Alexa for the weather forecast, a joke, to add an item to the shopping list, and to play music.
We got a little carried away and began asking for “Google” information which she does not do well with. She won’t tell you business hours or trivia, but she can manage spelling and math fact checks.
My 7 year old was struggling to get her attention and complete requests, but the voice training absolutely did the trick.
I also poked around and learned to make to do lists in addition to shopping lists. I added a Kidz Bop play list to my Amazon Prime Music. If she were in a bedroom it would be very easy to set alarms, it just seems archaic to push hour/minute buttons repeatedly to change alarms for my varying schedule.
There are also IFTTT recipes available and integration to Nest, WeMo and Philips Hue. I haven’t gotten into these yet, but I picture a world in which I walk in, say “Alexa, I’m Home” and the lights come on, she tells me where my spouse it, what the plan is for dinner, what items are on my to do list, and then starts playing music.
It is definitely not an indispensible device, but for $99 it is a pretty fun toy that will probably end up living in one of the kids rooms in another 6 months. However with the constant addition of new features, I can see a community springing up and having the echo being the brains behind the fully integrated house. When the RFD scanner on my refrigerator realizes that I am out of milk, it gets added to my shopping list. When there is a post on Craigslist.com for a 1953 GMC half ton truck, a note to check it out gets added to my to do list.