Nowadays, when I need a part for my gaming rig or a new music track to listen to, I need go no further than my personal laptop, which is stored conveniently in my living room cabinet. With a few clicks, the product in question will soon be leaving the nearest Amazon shipping facility or downloading to my personal device. But there was once a time when purchasing such a luxury would entail putting on my shoes, exiting my domicile and transporting myself to the happiest place on Earth: the local Best Buy.
Alexa, play Twenty One Pilots.
This is a phrase not heard once in my house prior to June 13, but has been one of the most uttered phrases since. Twenty One Pilots is my 13 year old son’s favorite band, and Alexa is the default name given to Amazon’s Echo….device.
I hesitated typing that last sentence because, what is the Echo, exactly? My wife stumbled across it while looking for my birthday present. She was looking for a quality Bluetooth speaker for me, and the Echo seemed to be coming up a lot in online discussions. Yes, it’s a speaker, and you can pair it to your phone or music device, but calling it a speaker seems to do it a disservice. In fact, the Echo seems to be designed to run more from Amazon’s extensive and continually expanding ecosystem than when any particular personal device, and I think that’s a smart play for both Amazon and consumers.