Amazon Echo

Is the Amazon Echo a good Christmas gift?

Episode 1343

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo Dot

Cindy wants to know about the Amazon Echo. Leo says that the cool thing about the Echo is that Amazon opened it up to create more functions for it, called "Skills." To date, the Amazon Echo has over 3,000 skills it can handle. If she's an Amazon Prime member, she can tell it to buy stuff and ship it to her. She can tell it to stream music, too. If she has a stereo system, she can save money and get the Amazon Dot and plug it in.

Should I get the Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1341

Pete from Clinton Township, AL
Amazon Echo

Pete is trying to decide between Amazon Echo or Google Home. Leo says he'd definitely pick the Echo. The Echo Dot, a smaller and less expensive version of the Echo, is designed to connect into a speaker system. It's also only $50. It's way ahead of Google Home with hundreds of tasks and recipes that enable Echo to do a variety of things. Google Home is way too new, but chances are, it'll get smarter quicker. Pete could connect the Echo Dot to a speaker and he'll have a stereo. It's amazing.

Where can I get Google Assistant in the home?

Episode 1333

Ellie from Honolulu, HI
Google Home

Ellie likes the idea of Google Assistant and wonders if it will be coming to home automation like the Amazon Echo. Leo says that the Amazon Echo is a great device and it keeps getting smarter. As for Google Assistant, Google's goal is to have it everywhere, so it likely will be.

Ellie also wants to know if AT&T buying Time Warner will affect her internet access. Leo says no, Time Warner sold it off to Spectrum. The $80 Billion acquisition of Time Warner is all about content.

How smart is the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1331

Ricardo from Laguna Nigel, CA
Amazon Echo

Ricardo got an Amazon Echo for his birthday and he loves it. He's wondering how smart it can get, though. Leo says it can play music, get the weather, and hundreds of other information gathering techniques based on Echo "recipes." It's getting smarter. Artificial intelligence, thanks to machine learning, is growing by leaps and bounds, except for Siri on the Apple platform. Siri is actually getting dumber because Apple values privacy more than gathering the data needed to make it smarter.

Is there anything I can do about having bought the Amazon Echo Dot a month before the new one came out?

Episode 1326

Jeff from High Point, NC
Amazon Echo Dot

Jeff heard the next generation of the Dot from Amazon has been released and it's cheaper. The Dot is the Echo without speakers and you can add it to your own system. He's annoyed that he just bought the first generation a month before. Leo says that's the way of the world in the tech industry. The first generation of anything is more expensive, and it's usually an early adopter that has to pay the price. He tried talking to Amazon about it but was essentially told "tough luck." Leo says it's probably just a matter of timing.

Can I connect TuneIn to my Amazon Echo?

Episode 1320

Tom from New Hampshire
Amazon Echo

Tom is calling about the app for using push to talk. He uses one called Roger and it sounds really clear. Leo says that's because it uses data, not the cellular network.

Does the Echo support TuneIn? Leo says not yet. They'll have to update it. Leo has heard that Sonos is going to support the Echo next year and you can use TuneIn on the Sonos. So that looks good. Amazon just did support for Spotify, so they're making progress in that direction. So in time, it should happen.

How can I control my TV with my phone?

Episode 1311

Mark from Redlands, CA
Blumoo Smart Control

Mark just upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. He likes it, but he misses the infrared features. Is there any alternative to that? Leo says Samsung probably took the feature out because there are third party devices that do a much better job.

Usually you would connect to an IR blaster via Bluetooth and it then translates the instructions to the TV. The device is called Blumoo Smart Control Device. It connects to a phone via Bluetooth, but it can also support the Amazon Echo, so Mark can have it talk to his TV.