Let’s just call the Amazon Echo what it is

“Amazon [has] announced a new device called Echo. With a built-in, cloud connected, ‘always on’ microphone, the Echo can listen for your voice ‘from across the room,'” Greg Kumparak writes for TechCrunch. “You can ask it about the weather. You can tell it to set an alarm. You can ask it for information about Abraham Lincoln. It’s a personal assistant in a tube!”

“But let’s be clear here on what this thing is beyond that — or what it will be,” Kumparak writes. “Amazon is not in the business of telling you whether or not it will rain tomorrow. Nor is it in the business of waking you up in the morning. Nor is it in the business of teaching you about dead presidents.Amazon is in the business of selling you things — and that is why Echo exists.”

“They want their store ‘front end’ to be floating in the ether all around you, just waiting for you to open your mouth,” Kumparak writes. “The Echo is a bit like the Fire Phone in that regard; it may do some interesting stuff, but its driving force, the beat in its heart, will be to accept your money as efficiently as possible… Amazon clearly learned its lesson with the way it marketed the Fire Phone (and the $83 million worth of phones they have sitting around).”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Amazon Echo is simply the Fire Phone without the phone.

Related articles:
The FBI will not have to bug your living room; you will do it yourself – November 7, 2014
After Fire Phone sales flop, Amazon looks to become official vendor of Apple iPhone 6/Plus, source says – October 29, 2014
Amazon posts worst loss in over decade; stock plummets – October 24, 2014
Bezos’ Misfire Phone: Amazon cuts price of Fire Phone flop to 99 cents – September 8, 2014
Bezo’s Misfire Phone: Amazon has only moved 35,000 Fire phones, data suggests – August 26, 2014
Bezos’ Misfire: Fire Phone flops like a dying fish – August 11, 2014
Amazon’s Misfire phone could be 2014’s most epic flop – August 6, 2014
Amazon’s Misfire Phone: Why the Fire Phone will fail – July 30, 2014
Wall Street’s patience with Amazon’s losses wears thin – July 29, 2014
Amazon shares tank after wider-than-expected $126 million loss – July 25, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reviews Amazon Fire Phone: A gimmicky mess – July 25, 2014
Gizmodo reviews Amazon’s Fire Phone: Don’t buy it – July 23, 2014
Amazon accused of bullying smaller UK publishers – June 26, 2014
Why you shouldn’t buy Amazon’s Fire Phone – June 22, 2014
Amazon’s Misfire Phone: How Jeff Bezos failed – June 19, 2014
Amazon’s Fire Phone might be the biggest privacy invasion ever – June 19, 2014
Amazon launches shopping machine masquerading as a phone – June 18, 2014
Amazon Fire Phone’s Firefly feature: Apple’s iPhone already has it – June 18, 2014


  1. If you’re an Amazon Grime member you can learn about Abraham Lincoln for only $99! (if they let you into their super secret club, which you have to ask to join)

    1. …”want to” being the important part. This superfluous, useless device (useless because there’s really nothing new here, and its implementation looks deeply flawed) is yet another sign of Bezos’s desperation. Bezos has become a sad reactionary wannabe, devoid of innovation, with nowhere to go but down.
      His was a grand vision, ultimately destined only for failure – but what can you say about the fools who still cling to this plummeting behemoth, with an insane P/E of over 700?

  2. All I could think is how convenient it would be to have that for Siri, until I realized we already do. You can enable the “Hey Siri” feature and there you go, much better system integrated with your Apple ecosystem.

    Amazon’s attempt isn’t even something new, if anything it’s unnecessary hardware trying to scrape dollars off of a free offering that doesn’t need hardware.

      1. I can’t. She doesn’t speek dutch and has problems understanding my ‘dunglish’. When I want her to play some music on my phone I always end up excusing some poor sod she called inadvertently…

  3. it is positively chilling to me, the prospect of a listening device always active in my home. who are the listeners? how could anyone completely cast aside their privacy and own one of these? I think it is reasonable to assume that Bezos would gladly monetize anything his device would overhear in your home said by you or your family. is there a class of people who crave an automated reflex communique from Amazon offering them something for sale based on what they recently talked about?

      1. What was that on another thread about the tv listening to you all the time and a warning to be careful what you say as it may be passed on to third parties. I would have been worried that Amazon WAS one of those third parties let alone sending it to them direct.

    1. It is not listening in the sense you imply. It only acts when you say a key word. That word is decided by you. I find the whole idea intriguing. You would probably be much more likely to use it than having to pull a phone out of your pocket, press the home button, wait for the beep, and then say something. In fact I have read speculation that Apple TV might someday have similar functions to Echo. “TV, turn on the football game”. “TV, turn down the heat”. Etc.

      1. You are naive to think that. Read the user agreement: it says anything it hears can be used to serve you but only responds when it hears the hey echo. The UA allows them to send the data to their computers for analyzing, it knows where it is installed, it will know the individuals by voice, shopping pattern, it will recognize what tv or radio you are watching, it will recognize people’s names.

        Most importantly, everything recorded can be collected by a court order and used in anyway the authorities deem appropriate. OUCH… There is nothing in the UA on what happens to the data collected and we know it will never be deleted…

      2. It’s an internet connected open microphone.
        If they can hack a switched off phone the “Echo” will be a trivial task. ( ‘will’ – probably already done ).

        In which case ‘Echo” might be more appropriate than you think.

  4. “…but its driving force, the beat in its heart, will be to accept your money as efficiently as possible..”

    True. But Amazon would also benefit from figuring out who you are as a consumer to target ads to you. An algorithm listening for key words is potentially more powerful for targeted advertising than any other way of tracking your consumer behavior. I have no idea if Amazon is going to do that, but they certainly can’t be blind to the possibility.

    I’m glad this story followed this one on MDN: “The FBI will not have to bug your living room; you will do it yourself”

  5. The only way to do this is when the mic and recognition system only runs on your home server. Then it triggers a web search only if the info it needs is not available internally.

    1. Years ago, 70s or 80s popular science magazine I believe featured a home automation system that had very basic voice control and ran on a popular computer back then. PET maybe.

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