(Forbes) – The battle to win over the consumer living room is getting intense. From Apple to Google to Microsoft to Sony and Samsung, everyone is eyeing for a place in our living rooms. Taking the fight to the next level, Amazon just turned its voice-activated personal assistant, Amazon Echo into a platform. It achieved this milestone before Apple and Microsoft could effectively exploit their smart assistant technologies based on Siri and Cortana. This move strengthens Amazon’s position in the consumer IoT market.
Amazon Echo was announced in November last year with the initial release limited to a select few individuals and Amazon Prime members. Much like Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo is a voice-activated personal assistant ready to talk to you. It can answer questions, play music from your Amazon music library, read audio books from audible.com, act as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone and can even control connected bulbs and smart switches. Of course, Echo lets you place orders from Amazon.com. Those are certainly an impressive set of features for a V1 product. The device comes with a companion mobile app that can hook up Echo to your home WiFi access point and other connected devices like Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin WeMo switches. The Echo comes with an optional remote control for directly controlling the device instead of using voice commands. The Bluetooth-based remote comes handy in noisy environments.