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Amazon launches Echo digital assistant and speaker

Ecommerce giant Amazon has further diversified its product portfolio with the launch of a digital virtual assistant and speaker column named Echo.

Described as a 360 degree speaker and listening post the $180 gadget is available to buy now in the US to ship from 14 July, promising to give owners voice activated music, ad-free radio, news and generalised queries when prompted.

The black cylinder houses Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to handle vocalised queries whose repertoire of skills includes control of other connected devices, as well as access to Google Calendar, weather updates, sports results and live traffic news.

Predictably you will also be able to purchase products from the Amazon store by voice command alone, although this service will be restricted to Prime members.

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