Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love the the Amazon Echo’s potential. It has a far reaching microphone device that can filter noise, music and always listen to your conversation to make smart decisions about what you would like to do. I would love to get one. That said, there are many problems with the device that right now:
- The device is too expensive. At 179 USD it is the most expensive automation product in your home. Even all the automation hubs with similar components don’t cost more than $150. I believe the sweet spot is at $69.99. If they can get it down to that point I can see it being purchased by different types of people with different types of needs all over their house. Filling a 10 room house is just too costly at the moment. You could buy 3 used Samsung Tab 3’s with AutoVoice control, infrared control etc for the cost of one Echo.
- Invasion of privacy. Usually in an average home automation family household you will have one tech lover and the other that just doesn’t care and may actually hate having something always listening to you. With AutoVoice you can control the commands but with the Echo, you cannot remove them all.
- The API. Right now you need to say “hey Alexa” and the app name before a command. What I want to see is the user just selecting the commands. Ie. Being able to say “turn off the tv” instead of “hey Alexa, Vera turn off the tv”
- This is a niche product that has a small growing market, but it’s still small from what I believe Amazon is expecting.
Since Amazon wants people to use Echo as a hub to purchase products through them I can see that they will eventually lower the price point drastically just to get it into as many living rooms as they can. Until then I believe it will be a Google Glass style developer project.
What do you think about the Echo? Am I wrong to think it may fail?