Online juggernaut Amazon.com has done it again. The company just announced that this past Cyber Monday, it broke its previous biggest shopping day record (Prime Day) set back in July 2017. The manic Monday also turned out to be better than Black Friday.
The online giant also said that the best seller was its Echo Dot. The Dot, which is the cheaper, mini version of the Amazon Echo, has been killing it since the tech first emerged in the summer of 2015. It quickly became the hot smart device for millions of people worldwide.
Amazon and its Amazing AI: Alexa
Why is the Amazon Echo so loved? First of all, it’s tech. But it’s amazing tech—and it comes with a personality! Alexa. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use. However, there are a whole host of other reasons:
- Music — Whether you pay for a monthly music subscription ($7.99 for Prime members, $9.99 for non-Prime) or not, Amazon has thousands of songs that can be played throughout your home. From the Beatles to Taylor Swift, Alexa can set the mood for waking up, working out, and everything in between. Even better, the Echo also works with your Pandora and Tune-In accounts.
- Calendar — Yes, Echo will sync with your phone and computer’s calendar! You can access all of your calendar events via voice command at any time. Simply ask Alexa what’s on your calendar. You can do it by specific date or a general query. Even better, you can add to your calendar by voice! No need to open up a calendar and type it in. Just say, “Alexa, add Billy’s birthday party to my calendar.” You can add the date and time within the same sentence or wait for her reply of “Okay. For what day and what time.”
- Room Syncing — One of the newest features added to Amazon Echo devices is the ability to sync music from one device to another Echo. Until now, you could enjoy your music in one room, but not continue its playing in another. By creating group names in your Alexa app, you can now tell Alexa to play that song you’re grooving to in all the rooms of your choosing.
- Drop In — You’ve got a big house and a whole bunch of Echo devices in every room. Dinner is almost ready and you want to gather the troops. However, you’re busy putting the finishing touches on the meal and don’t want to leave the kitchen. Well, Echo’s new Drop In feature lets you access any other connected Echo device in the house (once you’ve assigned it an area in the Alexa app). Simply tell the closest Echo to drop in on the room of your choice and announce that supper is on the table.
- Fun — While Alexa is less knowledgeable than Google Home when it comes to getting answers to random questions, “she” really knows how to lighten the mood. The creators of Alexa equipped “her” with a light-hearted and quirky personality that makes having an AI roommate really enjoyable. Her fun tidbits, paired with all of the entertainment “Skills” offered by third-party developers, are reason enough for a family to purchase at least one for the kitchen or family room.
- Smart Home — The general consensus on smart speakers for the home is that Echo is better than Google Home … right now. It should be noted that “right now” has been going on since both devices were created. The biggest reason for Echo’s better critical rating is due to how many smart home devices it works with. Whether you want to turn off the lights in another room, set your dishwasher, or call your mom, Amazon Echo works with more smart home partners than the competition.