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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Amazon Echo's Music Streaming Service

Amazon Echo's Music Streaming Service

Source: Pixabay
There have been talks that Amazon wants to release a stand-alone music streaming service, but it's their Amazon Echo owners that may benefit the most. 

It appears that their original idea of releasing their own music service will still stick, but now they want to expand that idea with an additional tier:

  • $5 per month ad-free streaming option for Echo users only 
  • $10 per month ad-free streaming option for any device

These two tiers would expand on Amazon's own Prime music and make getting an annual Prime membership worthwhile.

Their current streaming service could also use the catalog boost.

How Would It Benefit Echo Users? 

Source: Flickr
If Amazon can snag deals with major music labels, then their new service would not only be cheaper than other competitors (Apple Music, Spotify), but it would breathe new life into the Echo. 

Amazon Echo products have been doing well, but they need that marketing push that a powerful streaming service could provide.

This would benefit users because they'd have all the smarts of the Echo hardware and a cost-efficient music-streaming service to boot. 

Would It Challenge Competitors?

Source: Flickr

Again this would all depend on who Amazon can get on board, but consumers have been waiting for less expensive music offerings for years now. 

Amazon's Prime ecosystem already gives members far more bang for their buck than any other service.

If members and Echo users only had to pay an extra $5 per month to get what competitors like Spotify offer, then it would move Prime forward. 

For now we'll have to wait and see what happens, but you can attest that it does make buying the Amazon Echo a little bit sweeter. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Most Useless Amazon Alexa Skill?

What's the Most Useless Amazon Alexa Skill?

Source: Pixabay

There are 1000's of Amazon Alexa skills for your Echo devices, but one skill is particularly useless in what it does. 

That dishonor goes to the "Calculator" skill, which simply doesn't make any sense to perform.

According to this skill, these are the following tasks it can do:

  • Standard addition and subtraction 
  • Multiplication and division 

And that's it! 

You can't perform advanced mathematical equations like square roots, decimals, fractions, or other operations. 

But hey at least it tried right....Nope! 

I will give the skill credit that it generally does what's intended, but again what's the point?

Your Echo devices, by default, can already solve basic mathematical equations without a needless application. 

So you may ask yourself, maybe there's more to it and that more things are coming right?

Well when I looked up the skill's description in the Alexa app, it stated that more features were coming, but this application has been out for several months. 

How long could it possibly take to add in a few more features? 

Applications like these are partly why the "1000's of available Alexa skills" is very misleading.

In reality, there are only a few dozen that actually come in handy on a daily basis. 

In the link at the top of the post, I highlighted what I believe are the 20 best Amazon Alexa skills you can find right now. 

And those few good ones are real gems that anyone with an Echo product needs to look into, and they make it easy to distinguish the useful from the nonsensical. 

But regardless of how pointless some skills are, I think it's a good thing that we're constantly adding more abilities to the Amazon Echo. 

Let's just hope that Amazon decides to throw out the completely nonessential as its arsenal continues to grow.