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Amazon's voice control speaker is now available for all

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While not every gadget Amazon throws to the wall sticks (cough Fire Phone), the Echo voice-controlled wireless speaker was a surprising smash. Though it's been on sale for quite awhile by invitation only, Amazon's now put it up on pre-order for anyone who wants it. As a reminder, here's how it works: you activate it by saying "Alexa" or whatever else you want to call it, then ask questions or give commands much like you would with Siri or Google Now. From there, the always-on device will hit Amazon's cloud and give you the weather, sports scores, Spotify songs and more.

At first, it just did basic chores like web search and (duh) helping you order more stuff from Amazon. But Bezos & Co. later added apps, and you can now control WiFi devices like Philips Hue lights, or even get it to read you a book. Pre-orders are now open for the $180 device (in the US only), with shipping set to commence on July 14th.

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