Late last year, Amazon announced the Echo, a wireless speaker with a voice-controlled personal assistant built in. We called it “Siri in a box” in our review, and that’s a pretty apt description. The Echo can be a standard Bluetooth speaker, but its real appeal lies in its ability to answer questions, play music on demand, or order products from Amazon with just a voice command. Instead of the iPhone’s Siri, the Echo’s virtual assistant is named Alexa, but they are very similar in their capabilities.
But when Amazon announced the Echo in November of last year, you couldn’t actually buy it. Interested customers that already had Amazon Prime accounts could get on a waiting list to buy the speaker and would receive invites when Amazon had the device available.