Amazon’s Echo launched last year with availability limited to invite only for the first several months and while early reviews were positive, the most common complaint was that it didn’t quite do enough to justify the price tag.
This was also hot on the heels of the Amazon Fire Phone, which essentially blew up on the launch pad, so people weren’t exactly in a mood to trust another experimental product from Amazon.
Nearly a year later, the Amazon Echo has added considerably to its bag of tricks. Not only has Amazon added functionality like IFTTT integration and Audible playback, but the Echo has transformed into one of the most popular home automation products with control over Hue lights, Belkin WeMo, Smarthing, Insteon, Wink and more.
The voice recognition on the Echo has also received universal praise as best in class, easily recognizing commands even with a large amount of ambient noise.
One of the few things that hasn’t changed much about the Amazon Echo over the year has been the price. While it did drop from the initial $199 to $179 early in its tenure, that has remained static for some time now, with few deals.
Today only Amazon is slashing another $30 off the Echo, bringing it down to $149. If you have any interest in home automation or just a wireless speaker with voice commands, I would take a long look at the Echo today. You are unlikely to find it any cheaper soon and Amazon has proven over the last year that they are going to keep pouring resources into the Echo.
If any of you own an Echo already, we would love to hear what your experience has been with it.