Alexa and Echo – Are they the Same Thing? (NOT Really…)

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You may have heard of Amazon Alexa or Echo and wondered what the differences are.

Although “Alexa” is often interchangeable with “Echo”, they are not the exact same thing.

Difference Between Alexa and Echo

Echo and Alexa are two different things. The difference between Echo and Alexa is that Echo is the hardware and Alexa the software. Amazon’s AI virtual assistant Alexa lives in the cloud. Echo smart speakers are a line of Amazon smart speaker products that include Alexa AI technology.

The Echo was the first device to use Alexa, and that is why many people believe Echo and Alexa are one in the same.

To make matters even more confusing, people often mean “Do you own an Alexa?”.

Histories

Amazon introduced Alexa to the world in 2014 with their first Echo (the 1st generation) smart speaker. It was “smart” because it had Alexa! ).

Everyone had never heard of Amazon “Alexa” or Amazon “Echo”

In many ways 2014 was an Echo and Alexa coming out party. Since then, the two have been closely linked.

Let’s look a little deeper to see how Alexa and Echo are different…

Alexa

This is where Alexa’s technology really shines.

Echo devices are essentially speakers, although some Echo Shows have great touch and display technology.

Alexa on the other side is capable of:

  • Voice interaction
  • Music playback
  • To-Do Lists
  • Streaming the news
  • Setting alarms
  • Listening to podcasts and audiobooks
  • Reading off recipes
  • Real-time information, such as traffic reports and weather alerts
  • Alexa can also be used to shop, allowing you to tell Alexa to purchase groceries.

Alexa can also act as a “smarthub” Smart hubs connect all your smart devices together and allow them to interact.

You can connect any Alexa-enabled smart product to your smartphone’s “Alexa” app and set up automatic routines. For example, turn on your porch lights at night or lock all your doors if you are more than 1 mile away from your home.

These smart products can be controlled manually from the Alexa app. You can also use the Alexa app to control your down-lighting by simply clicking on them.

Perhaps Alexa’s greatest quality is her ability to learn!

Amazon Alexa’s use of Machine Learning and other Artificial Intelligence methods will continue to improve.

Personally, I have already noticed a significant improvement since the original Alexa software versions. The data supports this.

Alexa experienced a 25% decrease in error rates between 2017-2018

Amazon has sold more than 100 million Alexa devices in the last 8 years. This gives them plenty of data and feedback for the future.

Software is great because Amazon can learn from its mistakes and update Alexa accordingly. They can then push that update to your Echo device.

Software updates are usually done automatically. This means that your Echo always has the most recent version of Amazon Alexa!

Also, Echo is not the only Echo product that can run Alexa software.

You may have noticed that almost every smart product is compatible with Alexa.

This is because Amazon has launched the Alexa Voice Service, which gives non-Amazon developers tools for integrating Alexa into their products.

Amazon wants all smart products in the world to work with Alexa. It’s good for business.

Echo

As mentioned previously, the Amazon Echo is a series of smart speaker products that can connect to Alexa, an AI assistant.

The original Echo was heavy, tall and bulky. Over the years, the Echo has become a much smaller and more capable smart speaker/hub.

While Alexa is a technological marvel, the Echo does actually have some very cool tech.

The seven-mic system Amazon included in the Echo and associated listening software is the most powerful mic technology on the market.

Amazon was inspired by the success of its initial Echo launch and launched the Echo Show.

The Show added an LCD display to the Amazon smart speakers and it offered a lot more capabilities.

The Echo can now play Netflix movies and shows, surf the internet, pull up step by step recipe instructions with photos, and integrate with smart cameras around your home (like baby monitors).

The Echo Show, Echo Dot and Echo Look are still the most loved smart speakers on today’s market .

You might be wondering what smart speaker is second. It’s Google Home, you guessed it.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why many people believe they are identical, given that Echo and Amazon Alexa were both released simultaneously in 2014. They aren’t.

Alexa runs on Echo hardware.

Alexa, Amazon’s AI virtual assistant technology, lives in the cloud.

Echo is a line smart speaker products from Amazon that include Alexa AI technology.

Software (Alexa), is constantly being improved and updated. Software updates are a way to push these improvements to hardware (Echo).

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