The Echo, which is an artificial intelligence device, is a 23.5 cm tall cylindrical speaker – similar in appearance to the UE Megaboom – with a seven-piece microphone array.
Essentially a bluetooth speaker, Echo plays music, reads out the news and sports scores, and answers questions using Amazon’s integrated virtual personal assistant Alexa.
The Echo, which was launched in US in June 2015 and became a surprise hit in American households, was Amazon’s bid to take on Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Siri is integrated in all iPhones starting at iPhone 4s.
Echo can be used to control other internet-connected devices, build shopping lists and link in to dozens of third-party services including Spotify, Uber and BBC News.
At a press conference in London, Amazon spokespeople announced that Echo would be available in three European countries starting September 28- UK, Germany and Austria
Meanwhile, Google has also announced a virtual assistant – called Google Assistant – which can be used to find information, play media and carry out tasks such as booking cinema tickets via a back-and-forth chat between the user and the software.
The firm also announced a voice-activated device with a built-in speaker called Google Home to deliver the tech to living rooms.
It will compete with Amazon’s Echo.