You have to give Amazon credit where it's due. Aside from being a retail powerhouse, they're not averse to dipping their feet in new and sometimes strange areas. Take Fresh, the first major effort at bringing your local goods directly to you in same-day fashion. Or Amazon Dash, which aimed to make adding items to your cart a breeze by allowing for scanning goods or speaking them into a small, hand-held device. Along these lines, the company has now introduced an invite-only product, the Amazon Echo.
If you can get over the incredibly cheesy commercial, the product is certainly interesting. It's basically a standalone, non-smartphone or tablet based information system—sort of like Google Now or Siri. Ask it questions, get news and weather updates, and, a functionality that I'd be shocked if it were not implemented, the ability to order products from Amazon.
The hardware is fairly impressive for the sleek design, mainly for its audio capabilities. And its name, "Echo", denotes that you won't need to be close to or scream at it due to its seven microphones and far-field voice recognition technology.
The product is will retail for $199, but Amazon Prime subscribers can get it for half that amount. Head here to request an invite for purchase, and let us know what you think of Amazon's latest offering in the comments below.