Amazon Echo (her friends call here Alexa) hasbeensteadilyimproving since it launched a little over a year ago. Starting today, this little electronic monolith has a new trick up its sleeve: it can now play music directly from Spotify.
Playing music on Echo isn't exactly new: owners can already stream from services like Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn. On top of that, Echo has always been able to play audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device. However, official Spotify support gives users a lot more control over their listening experience than having to manually manage everything (a common first-world problem).
The Echo is Amazon's little smart tube that perks up whenever you say "Alexa" and proceeds to do whatever you say. Well, as long as what you say is something it has the capability to do. If you have a house filled with Wink-compatible products, that list now includes telling Echo to take control of your home.
Try, "Alexa, turn off the fan" or "Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights." Then watch as you never burn calories getting up to flip switches yourself.
By connecting Echo to your Wink Hub, you can use your voice to control a range of supported devices.
Amazon probably isn't the first company that comes to mind when you think of innovative gadgets. Not anymore, anyway. Hearing a company is producing a ho-hum smartphone based on Android isn't nearly as exciting as hearing about the Kindle for the first time. But with the Echo, the online retailer does have a cool piece of tech on its hands.
The Echo, which recently became available for general purchase in the US, is essentially what you get when you stick Google Now or Siri into a plastic tube. While that may not sound all that creative, delivery is everything. Saying OK Alexa (the name of the persona inside the device) out in the middle of the kitchen and having the product pick up from another room is rather impressive, especially when you just want to fire up some background music or search for a recipe.
Part of using Amazon revolves around ordering cool new stuff, 80% of which probably consists of impulse buys. But for people who use the site for more mundane things—say, soap—the online retailer spends a good amount of time resending the same stuff. Those who happen to own an Amazon Echo can now use the cylindrical voice assistant to re-order supplies without having to pull out a phone or head to the nearest PC.
To get Echo to send you another shipment, just say something along the lines of, "Alexa, re-order toilet paper." It will search through your order history for the item and then place an order using your default payment information.
Today Amazon unveiled what may be its most peculiar hardware to date, and it's not what you would expect. It's... wait, did you hear that?
Sorry, it was just an Echo.
Amazon Echo is a cylindrical speaker that responds to your voice commands. If you want music, tell it what to play. If you want to know the weather, ask it the question. It can handle alarms, pull up information from Wikipedia, or update you on the news. All you have to do is say its name and ask.
The idea of essentially snatching Google Now or Siri out of a phone and shoving them into a standalone product is an interesting one.
When we last left Kyocera, the company was still trying to convince us that more screens are more better. Today at CTIA, the company best known for creating the company printer you kick at least once a week in the office announced two new phones that are decidedly less gimmicky: the Kyocera Hydro and the Kyocera Rise of the Machines.
First off, the Kyocera Hydro, which is designed to be water resistant, and billed as a device that can "withstand the spills and drops of everyday life." Which is handy because, as a device with a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM, there is a very real chance you'll want to throw this device in a lake on more than one occasion.
Looks like Sprint is pushing some OTA updates to a couple of all-but-forgotten devices: the LG Marquee and the Kyocera Echo. We haven't really heard much about the Marquee since it was announced back in September, but it appears that Sprint hasn't forgotten about it. A minor OTA update should be rolling out to the Marquee right now that brings a couple of bug fixes:
Device may lockup while on call
Similarly, that quirky little dual-screened oddity known as the Kyocera Echo is also on the receiving end of a minor update that fixes some issues:
MMS audio cuts off after 8 seconds
Changes to roaming guard display
Activation of Commercial Mobile Alert System
It's probably safe to assume that the security update portion of both OTAs is the removal of Carrier IQ, which Sprint has been removing from all of its devices over the last several weeks.
It's a bittersweet feeling when one of the most revolutionary devices to hit the market ends up on a carrier's EOL (End of Life) list. While it's generally realized that the device itself is old hat, its retirement indicates that newer, better, and more powerful devices are upon us.
This is the case for one of Android's most celebrated success stories: the HTC EVO 4G. According an internal Sprint document obtained by SprintFeed, the white variant of the EVO 4G will meet its demise at the end of this week, while the black one will hang on for just a while longer -- at least until the first part of October.
Last week we got our hands on the Sprint Playbook which indicated that the Kyocera Echo would be receiving a firmware update to Android 2.3. Accordingly, a page has now gone live on the official Kyocera Echo webpage confirming that an update to Android 2.3.4 is imminent. By the looks of the Echo webpage this update will bring some major features and enhancements to this unique device.
As indicated in the Playbook the update will include Swype 3.0 with "Tap Correction and Horizontal Word Choice List" (i.e. predictive text), an improved "Downloads application", and the eponymous "Echo Mode" which is essentially an app to manage the device's battery.