It has been a while since Amazon has launched the Amazon Echo devices in India, powered by Alexa, Amazon’s very own digital assistant. But till now, there have been many instances when people have asked questions like why they should grab one, what Echo can do, how Alexa understands the user or his commands and many such questions.

So, Amazon Echo is basically a smart speaker and a hub that understands you, lets you control many things, can entertain you and do many more things, while Alexa is just a Digital Smart Assistant that can pull out information and serve it to you, understand your command and act by itself.

There are three Amazon Echo devices from Amazon- Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot.

Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows you to access Alexa from anywhere in the room with far-field voice control. It uses on-device software to detect the wake word, “Alexa.” When Echo detects the wake word, the device’s light ring turns blue and begins streaming the request to the cloud where Alexa processes the request. Since Alexa is built in the cloud and leverages Amazon Web Services, the Alexa Voice Service is always getting smarter and adding more functionality, whereas Echo Plus is basically a regular Echo with added features like room-filling sound powered by Dolby and a far-field microphone array, and adds a built-in smart home hub. With the built-in smart home hub, you can control devices using it without any need for additional apps or setup. This simple set-up works initially with a variety of ZigBee-supported products from Philips Hue. Echo Dot is the most affordable Echo device, and it’s a hands-free, voice-controlled device that is powered by Alexa and uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Echo Dot has a sleek and compact design, comes in either black or white, and is designed so you can put an Echo Dot into every room. Use the built-in speaker to talk with Alexa and listen to music, or Echo Dot can directly connect to speakers through Bluetooth or by using a 3.5mm stereo cable, enabling you to add Alexa to any home entertainment system.

On all three Echo devices, you have 7 microphones- 6 of these microphones are around the edge and we have one in the center, placed in a way so that Echo never missed your voice. Amazon has added second-generation far-field technology on these Echo devices so that these can hear you from a distance. Beam-forming, enhanced echo cancellation technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, the music currently playing, and even competing for speech to make sure Alexa is able to isolate the speaker and clearly hear the request.

In terms of sound output, Amazon Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with a dynamic bass response. Its 2.5-inch down-firing woofer, dedicated tweeter, Dolby processing, and 360° omnidirectional audio deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. In terms of connectivity, all Echo devices support Bluetooth so that you can stream anything to it from a phone or tablet.

In terms of understanding the user’s voice and taking action, Echo devices use Echo Spatial Perception (ESP), which is an ESP technology developed by Amazon which intelligently calculates the clarity of the customer’s voice and determines which Echo is closest and should respond to the request, and all these happen within less than a second.

Features of Alexa and Echo Devices

With Alexa calling and messaging, you can quickly make and receive calls between compatible Echo devices or the Alexa app on your smartphone, hands-free—no tapping or searching required. Your contacts will see and hear your name when they receive the call so they know who is calling. Additionally, you can send messages via voice or text to anyone with a supported Echo device or the Alexa App. Just say “Alexa, call mom,” or “Alexa, send a message to Vinay.”

Also read: Buying a Bluetooth Speaker? STOP and Read First about Amazon Echo!

Let your family know when dinner is ready or remind the kids to go to sleep—without having to raise your voice. With the Drop-In feature enabled for room-to-room calling, instantly connect with compatible Echo devices in your home. Just say “Alexa, drop in on the kids room.”

Setting up a smart home has never been this easier, with Alexa. With the built-in smart home hub, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easy. This simple set-up works with a variety of ZigBee products, and companies including Philips Hue, SYSKA LED and more are supporting in India. You can set up smart home device groups to manage multiple, compatible smart home device at once with your voice or the Alexa app. On Amazon India, there is a dedicated Smart Home Store for customers to discover all the devices that work with Alexa. Smart home features also work great with Echo and Echo Dot. Also, you can add routines to automate many tasks like “Alexa, good morning,” and Alexa will switch-on compatible lights, read the daily news flash and the weather for the day. Routines can be created based on the time of day and customized for your needs.

Amazon Prime is another service by Amazon that offers free movies and TV shows on demand, free unlimited one-day delivery, and ad-free music. And Echo Devices support streaming music from Prime Music as well. Available at ₹ 999 a year, Prime is an incredible value for members.

Echo Devices also support synchronized music streaming that means you can play and enjoy room-filling music throughout the home when playing songs from Amazon Prime Music, TuneIn, and Saavn. You can group multiple Echo devices for synchronized music streaming in every room. Simply use the Alexa app to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “everywhere”. Once the group is created, simply say “Alexa, play Kala Chashma everywhere.”

Alexa also integrates with Amazon Pay. Once you have balance in your Amazon Pay, you can shop on Amazon using your voice only. You can add items to your cart, checkout items in the cart and all can be done with voice, like you can just say, “Alexa, add multi-grain atta to my shopping list” or “Alexa, I want to buy Sandal soap.” You can view and change your voice purchasing settings in the Alexa app. Voice-enabled purchases can also be locked with a four-digit passcode to keep kids away from ordering toys without your concern.

Alexa is a great way to talk to and learn, get information and do many more things.

JUST ASK ALEXA

Conversation starters

  1. Alexa, good morning/evening/night/afternoon.
  2. Alexa, how are you?
  3. Alexa, what can I do this weekend?
  4. Alexa, what can I say?
  5. Alexa, what can you do?
  6. Alexa, speak Bollywood.
  7. Alexa, tell me a knock, knock joke.
  8. Alexa, tell me a story.
  9. Alexa, sing a song.
  10. Alexa, tell me a pun.
  11. Alexa, how old are you?
  12. Alexa, I’m bored.

Know what’s trending

  1. Alexa, what’s up.
  2. Alexa, what’s trending.
  3. Alexa, cheer me up.
  4. Alexa, what’s weird today?
  5. Alexa, what happened in IPL today.
  6. Alexa, where is Narendra Modi.
  7. Alexa, what happened this week?

Question and answers

Alexa can help you find quick answers to questions without having to log on to the internet and search for answers. She can answer questions on sports, places, entertainment, education, politics, business and many other topics.

Sports Q&A

  1. Alexa, when is India’s next match?
  2. Alexa, how many centuries has Sachin scored?
  3. Alexa, what is Kohli’s highest score in ODI cricket?
  4. Alexa, what is India’s test ranking?
  5. Alexa, how many goals has Messi scored this season?

Places Q&A

  1. Alexa, which is the highest mountain in the world?
  2. Alexa, what is the time in New York right now?
  3. Alexa, what is the national flower of India?
  4. Alexa, who was the first person to climb Mount Everest?
  5. Alexa, which is the biggest state in India?

Entertainment Q&A

  1. Alexa, what is the rating of Dangal?
  2. Alexa, what movies are playing near me?
  3. Alexa, who plays Harvey Specter in suits?
  4. Alexa, who is the lead singer of Guns and Roses?
  5. Alexa, who is the author of The Secret of Nagas?

Education Q&A

  1. Alexa, why is the sky blue?
  2. Alexa, how big is the sun?
  3. Alexa, convert 50 miles per hour into kilometers per hour?
  4. Alexa, what is the integration of sine x?
  5. Alexa, what is the spelling of dinosaurs?
  6. Alexa, what’s the meaning of rendezvous?
  7. Alexa, when was the first world war?

Politics & Business Q&A

  1. Alexa, when are the elections in Karnataka?
  2. Alexa, who was the first president of India?
  3. Alexa, who is chief minister of New Delhi?
  4. Alexa, what is the price of bitcoin?
  5. Alexa, who is the richest person in India?

Others

  1. Alexa, how’s the traffic? (customers can set-up daily commute in their Alexa app and check for traffic conditions)
  2. Alexa, Wikipedia battle of Panipat?
  3. Alexa, how’s the weather?
  4. Alexa, will it rain today?

IPL Cricket

Check for cricket match schedules

  • Alexa, when is the next IPL match?
  • Alexa, when is the IPL final

Catch up on a match that you missed

  • Alexa, what’s the match report/ update?
  • Alexa, who won man of the match in the last game?
  • Alexa, who scored the highest in last match?
  • Alexa, who took most wickets in the match?
  • Alexa, how much did Kohli score in the match?

Follow a live match

  • Alexa, what is the IPL score?
  • Alexa, who is batting right now?
  • Alexa, who is bowling?
  • How many sixes did Kohli hit?
  • Alexa, what’s the projected score?

Follow your favorite player’s performance in IPL 

  • Alexa, how many runs has Shikhar Dhawan scored in IPL 2018?
  • Alexa, how many wickets did Ashwin take in IPL 2018?
  • Alexa, who is the leading wicket-taker this season?

General trivia and round up

  • Alexa, who is the Captain/Coach/Owner of Delhi Daredevils

Insider tips

  • Check out the Super Six skill and play voice cricket for six balls with your favorite teams. There are six international teams to choose from. Just ask “Alexa, open super six” and she will guide you through the next steps.
  • Open Cricket Assistant skill and increase your knowledge about terminologies related to cricket. Just ask “Alexa, enable cricket assistant”.
  • Watch out for the Daily Cricket Trivia game on Alexa. Answer five new questions every day, earn points and also get to know your rank among all cricket fans who have played the game. Just ask “Alexa, play the Daily Cricket Trivia”.

ALEXA’S GOT SKILLS

Skills are voice-driven capabilities that enhance and personalize your Alexa devices. You can search for and enable skills in the Alexa app and from the Alexa Skills store on Amazon India website. Right now, there are around 15,000 Alexa skills on the store. Examples include the ability to listen to music from Amazon Prime Music and Saavn, find restaurants with Zomato, order food from Freshmenu, get flight information from Jet Airways, and more. There are over 15,000 registered developers from India. In the first 60 days post the India skills store launch, we launched over 1000 skills, one every 90 minutes.

For fun times

1. Magic Door: Alexa, open the magic door: You can tell Alexa what choices to make as you explore a magical land with various regions, including a forest, sea, garden and castle. You will collect hidden items, solve riddles, and help magical creatures.

2. Dungeon Adventure: Alexa, start dungeon adventure: Your task is to locate the evil necromancer. In this dungeon crawling game you will create a character and purchase items from the town such as weapons, armor, potions and spells..

3. Simon Says: Alexa, play Simon Says: Alexa will give you instructions and you just need to do what she tells you, but only if she starts with “Simon Says”. When you’ve completed the instructions, say “next” or “again” to keep playing.

4. Millionaire Quiz Game: Alexa, play Millionaire Game: You’ll be asked a series of 14 questions. With each question, you’ll be given four possible answers and will be asked to choose the correct one.

5. Number guessing game: Alexa, begin Guessing Game: Try to guess the number Alexa chose. You’ll be told if the number you guessed is higher or lower than the chosen number. Keep guessing until you win!

6. Rock Paper Scissors: Alexa Start Rock Paper Scissors: Challenge Alexa to Rock Paper Scissors. Rock smashes Scissors. Scissors cut Paper, and Paper wraps Rock. Will you beat Alexa?

7. Indian Flute Sounds: Alexa, Start Indian Flute: Indian Flute taps into the richness of India’s meditation tradition and helps listeners experience inner stillness. This is the perfect musical accompaniment for meditation, yoga, healing and complete relaxation.

8. Relaxing sounds healing music: Alexa, Open Healing Music: Perfect musical accompaniment for meditation, yoga, healing and complete relaxation. It will help you rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.

9. True or False: Alexa, open True or False: This is a fun game to test your knowledge about the world by answering either “true” or “false”. It’s also the perfect ice-breaker for parties and gatherings. You can play with up to 20 users.

10. Animal Game: Alexa, start Animal Game: Alexa will ask you questions to figure out your chosen animal. Your answers will help Alexa narrow down the animal possibilities and make the best guess. Will you be able to stump Alexa, or will she be victorious in the end?

Be surprised with these quick fixes

  1. Alexa, what’s my horoscope for today?
  2. Alexa, help me relax.
  3. Alexa, let’s play a game.
  4. Alexa, flatter me.
  5. Alexa, I want to learn something new.
  6. Alexa, what’s the quote of the day?
  7. Alexa, I want to lose weight.
  8. Alexa, help me cook.
  9. Alexa, what’s the word of the day?
  10. Alexa, motivate me.

Sound skills

1. Animal Sounds: You can ask Alexa what sound an animal makes. Real animal sounds are used in this skill so you will learn what the animal really sounds like.

2. Indian Flute Sounds: Indian Flute taps into the richness of India’s meditation tradition and helps listeners experience inner stillness. This is the perfect musical accompaniment for meditation, yoga, healing and complete relaxation.

3.  Rain Sounds: Rain Sounds is an ambient relaxing sleep sounds loop to help you block out unwanted noises, encourage relaxation, reduce stress, or help you fall asleep.

4. Zen Sounds, Healing sounds: Sleep well at night or bring peace to your busy life with Healing Sounds. Close your eyes and relax. These sounds are good for meditation or relaxation.

Cab Booking

1. Ola: Book a cab using just your voice. Get to know the fare estimate and the status of your ride. Payment for the ride will be using your Ola Money balance.

2. Uber: With the Uber skill you can book a ride, change your default pickup location, ask for a ride status, or cancel your ride.

Food

1. Zomato: With the Zomato skill, you can discover restaurants to dine out (and book a table when available) and order food online.

2. Freshmenu: The skill will walk you through the daily changing menu and helps you place an order from the nearest Freshmenu kitchen.

3. Faasos: The skill makes ordering and getting your favorite food at your doorsteps super easy.

4.  Box8: Order food via Alexa for your daily dose of delicious Desi meals. Place cash on delivery orders via Alexa.

5. Tarla Dalal: The skill offers users a selection of healthy vegetarian recipes from TarlaDalal.com. Recipes offered are selected from a collection of over 20,000 recipes and refreshed weekly.

Games

1. Rock Paper Scissors: Challenge Alexa to Rock Paper Scissors. Rock smashes Scissors. Scissors cut Paper, and Paper wraps Rock. Will you beat Alexa?

2. Magic Door: You can tell Alexa what choices to make as you explore a magical land with various regions, including a forest, sea, garden and castle. You will collect hidden items, solve riddles, and help magical creatures.

3. Millionaire Quiz Game: You’ll be asked a series of 14 questions. With each question, you’ll be given four possible answers and will be asked to choose the correct one.

Horoscopes

1. GaneshaSpeaks: The skill provides daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes according to your sun sign.

2. Hungama Horoscope: The skill offers a wide selection advice about your daily, monthly, yearly, compatibility, career, finances, love life and almost every area of your life.

3. Astro Speaks: The skill brings to you your daily Horoscope, both in accordance by your birth date or sun sign, predicted by eminent astrologers.

Podcast

1. Ted Talks: You can play the latest TED talk, play random TED talks, or search for talks by topic or by speaker name. You can also play talks that are funny, inspiring, persuasive, courageous, or jaw-dropping.

Smart home

1.  Philips Hue: Use the skill to interact with your Philips Hue lights, rooms, scenes, and change colors.

2.  Syska: Use the skill to control smart home lights.

3. eWelink: The skill can control different brands and types of smart devices via voice commands, such as lamps, switches, sockets, and humidifiers.

4.  TP Link: With the skill you can now interact with your TP-Link Kasa lights and switches by voice.

Productivity

1.  Phone Finder: The skill helps you locate your Android device.

2. I’m Driving: The skill will ask your destination and give you an estimated travel time and route recommendation for current traffic conditions.

Cricket

Kolkata Knight Riders skill

  • Alexa, open Knight Riders
  • Alexa, ask Knight Riders to give me player stats for Dinesh Karthik
  • Alexa, ask Knight Riders to launch the Weekly Podcast

Mumbai Indians skill

  • Alexa, open Mumbai Indians
  • Alexa, ask Mumbai Indians for latest score
  • Alexa, ask Mumbai Indians to give me stats of Rohit Sharma

Royal Challengers skill

  • Alexa, open Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • Alexa, Start Royal Challengers Bangalore insider
  • Alexa, Open Royal Challengers Bangalore quiz

Popular skills across categories

SportsTravel & Transportation
Espncricinfo flash briefingUber
–  Sportskeeda cricket flash briefingOla
Tennis newsGoibibo
Cricketcountry.comJet airways
–  Sportskeeda football flash briefingIndian railways
Thescore sportsCleartrip
IFC newsTrip advisor
–  Newschest: Manchester United NewsPetrol price
Cricket scorecardPlace finder
Indian cricket teamIndian railway enquiry
Education & referenceLifestyle
Daily quotesGaneshaspeaks
Byju’sHungama horoscope
–  Merriam-webster word of the dayBox of cats
CuriosityAstrospeak – daily horoscope
Holy quraanHanuman chalisa
1-2-3 mathCompliment bot
–  Word of the dayGayatri mantra
Food & DrinkHealth & Fitness
Zomato–  Help me sleep: the 15 minute insomnia
Tarla dalal recipescure
Breathe therapy
Sanjeev kapoor recipes
–  Guided meditation: meditation of the day
Chai maker
for calm
FreshmenuMeditation studio
Foodpanda re-orderMake me smile
FaasosCompliment me
Box8–  Make me smile daily
The bartenderDaily health tip
Recipe generator7-minute workout
–  Seven minute hit workout
Novelty & HumorWeather
Animal gameWeather
FartAir quality – india
4afartBig sky
Meow!Moon phases
Repeat after meTamilnadu weatherman
Scold my kidsSpace weather
Cat soundsNorthern lights forecast
Story tellerWeather mate
Round of applauseClimate scientia:facts
Fart sound jokesWeather quote
Movies & TVSocial
–  Bollywood hungama movie review inRajini dialogues
englishConversation starters
–  Bollywood hungama movie review in
Birthday tracker
hindi
Tollywood dialoguesModi tweet
Bollywoodlife.comComedy jokes
Spider-manWitty insults
FilmibeatCopy cat
Romantic movie quotesRomantic quotes
Music & AudioGames, Trivia & Accessories
–  Ambient sounds: ocean soundsRock paper scissors
Ted talksMillionaire quiz game
–  Relaxing sounds: indian fluteNumber guessing game
–  Ambient sounds: rainforest soundsThe magic door
Gayatri mantraTrue or false?
–  Ambient sounds: thunderstorm soundsDungeon adventure
–  Ambient sounds: wind chimesHigher or lower
–  Ambient sounds: rain soundsSimon says
Hanuman chalisaStone paper scissors
Rain soundsQuiz master
ProductivitySmart Home
Find my phone–  Ewelink smart home fan
Night lightSyska smart home
Flash lightTp-link kasa
Webby – connect your phoneHue
I’m drivingYeelight
Astrobot – email assistantAnymote smart remote
Nag my kidsSmart life
Notes–  Mydlink home – optimized for smart home
Get me upOakter smart home
Autovoice–  Smart tv remote pro
UtilitiesBusiness & Finance
Phone finder–  ET markets financial news
–  Pin code of india–  The economic times latest news
Hindu panchangFinancial express news
My calculatorIndia stocks
CalculatorBitcoin news
Hindu calendarIndian share market
Tamil panchangamFox business
–  What’s my wifi password?India stock market
Memory bankCryptobriefing
StopwatchThe economic times

ALEXA ENABLED DEVICES

Amazon wants to empower the developers as well as customers, taking advantage of Alexa and hence Amazon gave device makers the ability to integrate Alexa into their own products through developer tools called Alexa Voice Service (AVS). It enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products with varied form factors and price bands, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device.

Through AVS, device makers can add a new intelligent interface to their products and offer customers access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. You can check out smart speakers by Harman Kardon and Eufy Genie here.

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An optimist to the core, I always see the glass half full. I like to take life as it comes and not to become too serious on the harsher aspects of it. Apart from this, I am an Engineer, a Blogger & a Researcher. Join me on Facebook and and Twitter. Also you can add me on Whatsapp at +91-8285555592.

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