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    Amazon’s voice-driven home shopping device available for pre-order in the US

    Amazon Echo

    ASK ECHO: If you’re low on groceries, Amazon device will hear you and place an order

    US consumers will soon be able to reorder supplies and control their home appliances using Amazon Echo, the connected device that uses voice recognition to complete spoken commands to shop, play music, read the news and more. It is now available for pre-order following an invitation-only trial that began in November 2014.

    “Amazon Echo is a new category of device designed around your voice — it’s always on, hands-free and fast, just ask for information, music, news, weather and more from across the room and get answers instantly,” Amazon says.

    “If you’re low on kitchen supplies, want to restock on snacks or need more rolls of duct tape for the garage, simply ask Echo to place an order for you.

    “Echo uses your order history and can order the prime-eligible item for you using your default payment and shipping settings. If Echo can’t find the requested item in your order history, it may suggest an item for your approval using Amazon’s choice, which picks highly-rated, well-priced, prime-eligible products.

    “With integration of Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue products, use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or heater while reading in your favourite chair or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie — all without lifting a finger.”

    “Echo uses far-field voice recognition with an array of seven microphones to clearly hear you around the room,” Amazon continues. “Advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation and even competing speech.”

    Customers who have used the device already have given it a 4.5 star rating and it will retail at US$179.99, with shipping scheduled in July.

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