Amazon Unveils Free Phone Calls via Echo

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Amazon says it is cutting the price of its Echo range of speakers to make them smarter and cheaper than ever. You need to grant several permissions in the conversations tab, like giving access to your phone contacts.

It does make a lot of sense for Google to launch a smart screen for its uses as it would act as a hub for the user's connected applications, images and videos. The caller's number will be identified by the receiving end, though ID can be turned off.

Amazon recently announced a number of Alexa-related developments and products, only a few short weeks after the IFA 2017 tradeshow and a week prior to Google's October 4 product announcement event, according to technology analysts from business information provider IHS Markit.

Amazon has introduced an extended calling feature to its Echo devices, allowing owners to make calls to non-Echo users. It can be enabled for free and supports voice commands such as "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play all songs" "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play love songs" and "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play old songs".

Alexa Gadgets are Echo-branded accessories. Among those announced were a new, small-form-factor speaker with a screen, camera, and microphone called the Echo Spot.

Echo Plus is available for pre-order starting on 27 Sep. and will start shipping next month in the US, UK and Germany. RBC Capital Markets released an investor note earlier this year estimating that Alexa-powered devices could earn Amazon $10 billion in revenue by 2020, through device sales and sales of items on Amazon's marketplace.

First was the new Echo, shorter than its predecessor and bearing a refined speaker and microphone. There's the mini version of the Home, set to compete with the Echo Dot, hitting a $50 or so price point, and a larger, more premium model in line with Apple's HomePod (and the new Echo).

It appears that Google has this plan in the works for a while, but with the release of the Amazon Echo Show, they had to move the timetable up. With consideration for Amazon's most recent string of reveals and the lead it already has in the industry, it may not actually be possible for Google to catch up at all. Amazon will, however, have an uphill battle persuading people to ditch their messaging app of choice and use Alexa regularly, if not full-time. Cost and look of the device is unclear now. Amazon now has more than 5,000 people working on Alexa-related projects, Limp said.

Alexa Routines allow users to automate a series of customisable actions using a single voice command of their choice. It's "yet another way to get Alexa in every room of your house", The Verge said.