For starter’s – it is essentially Siri for your home. Although it may look like a fancy Bluetooth speaker, the Amazon Echo (a.k.a “Alexa”) is actually much, much more. Echo is connected wirelessly to the cloud, which allows it to continuously learn and provide better answers to anything you ask it, including (but not limited to) reading the news, checking sports scores, checking the weather, searching wikipedia, controlling your connected home devices (like the Philips Hue), checking traffic conditions, and more. It also performs all normal functions you’d expect like playing your music and setting alarms.
The other day my son asked “Alexa” – Can you do my homework – It’s answer – “I Can Try!!!” – ask me a question – and he asks echo a question. 🙂 – I know not the best idea – but I myself end up asking echo about my morning commute and so many things now.
Amazon continues to add more features – last I saw an update on this was – we could write If-Then-Else stuff to get conditional answers. The potential for this gadget seems to be unlimited.