I should point out that I knew next to nothing about the Echo when I pre-ordered it. I knew next to nothing about it when it arrived. I figured I’d take the approach of someone that just got this thing as a gift or something.
Amazon Echo Unboxing
I unbox the Echo and spend some time setting it up. It did not go well.
Then I attempted to interact with Alexa. I suppose I’m just accustomed to Google, because I can ask it a variety of free-form questions and most of the time it comes up with the correct answer. Alexa seems to be far more finicky about phrasing and command syntax. Which is just what you want from a user-friendly tube that ominously glows at you from the center of your living room.
Then the Rest of the Review
I just don’t get the Echo. Fine, it can play music and it can control
all of your lights a limited number of brands of lights.
For home automation though, I’d want something more discrete. Something integrated into the house, not an obvious cylinder that I have to explain to everyone.
For listening to music I’m fine with a Bluetooth speaker.
If I have extemporaneous questions for the internet I can always ask the Google that’s in my very pocket (or glued to my hand).
I am Hopeful
Amazon does publish an API for Alexa. After making the video I signed up for their developer program. It’s been about a week, and I still haven’t heard back.
However, I’m hoping that the community will come up with some killer apps, and that home automation compatibility will increase.
But in the meanwhile of my daily life, Alexa remains a novelty. My living room and my workstation in my basement already have better speakers than the Echo’s. So she doesn’t do me much good for music, and she still can’t answer questions better than my phone.