A few month ago, Amazon announced a product called "Echo," a cylinder with built-in speakers, an array of microphones, and a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. Priced at $199 (or $99 for Amazon Prime members), Echo claims to be a personal assistant able to answer questions, provide information, and play music, controlled completely by voice.
Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with some people saying it sounded cool, while others saying they'd rather use their phone. I ordered one from Amazon the day it was announced and received it a couple of weeks ago.
The first thing that surprised me was the size and weight of the device. On the day Echo was supposed to be delivered, I came home and was disappointed that the package wasn't on my front porch. When I went to my mailbox, I was shocked to see the small Amazon box that fit inside. I was even more surprised when I went to pick it up: Did Amazon put a huge rock in the box? It was heavy!
The Amazon Echo is packaged in a nondescript black box. The inside of the box is bright orange and you're greeted by a sleek black cylinder, along with a remote control and a power adapter. There's also a quick start guide and a list of voice commands to get you started, both shaped like bookmarks, as well as a pair of Amazon Basics AA batteries, and a magnet to hold the remote.