Amazon Echo is finally coming to the UK


Amazon has revealed its artificial intelligence voice-powered assistant, Amazon Echo, is coming to the UK in the autumn.

The device, which looks like a portable speaker, is able to listen out for voice commands and control internet-enabled devices around the home, including appliances and lights as well as stream music from the cloud and answer questions by searching the internet.

Echo was first released in the US last year.

Amazon’s David Limp said Echo was the result of the technology giant’s desire to build a computer similar to that seen in the Star Trek television series, where characters could “talk to the computer anywhere”.

The system connects to a user’s home WiFi network, enabling it to communicate and control other internet-connected appliances, including TVs, coffee makers and fridges.

Echo and its software – called Alexa – remains dormant until it hears a “wake word” and then streams what it hears to the cloud to understand and then action the command.

Echo contains a 360-degree speaker for music playing, as well as seven microphones in order to pick up voices and commands, using machine-learning algorithms to understand context the more it is used.

Amazon confirmed the Echo will cost £149.99, opening pre-orders today. The technology giant added that members of its Prime membership scheme who pre-order will get £50 off.

The more compact version of the speaker, Echo Dot, will also be made available in the UK for £49.99. The smaller Dot has Bluetooth capabilities in order to connect to other portable speakers for music player.

One or more of the Dot units can be used alongside the main Echo speaker, in different rooms around the house.

Amazon also said it will be selling the Echo Dot in six and 12 packs, including one free Dot in the six-pack and two in the 12-pack.

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