The Amazon Echo is now available to all customers. Previously, the voice-activated system was only available by invitation only. The always-on system features Alexa, Amazon’s answer to Siri and Cortana and allows hands-free access to music, including Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. The device also can retrieve information from Wikipedia or the web, tell you the weather, set timers and alarms, relay the latest news, and compile shopping/to-do lists.
Over the past few months, Amazon has added a number of new features to the system. It can now:
- Work with connected home systems
- Play Pandora radio
- Read Audible books aloud
- Access Google Calendar
- Use IFTT
- Re-order Prime items
- Relay sports scores and schedules
- Give you traffic reports, including routes and travel times
- Allow you to customize news.
Amazon Echo retails for $179.99 and starts shipping on July 14, 2015. You can learn more about the device or order one here.