Amazon’s simple answer to the smartphone

Necessity is the mother of invention and you must make the best of what you have. Amazon has achieved this with the Echo, an internet-connected speaker and digital assistant that rests on the kitchen counter of the family home: helpful, discreet, intelligent and simple. Amazon is not the first company that springs to mind as a pioneer of consumer devices; that would be Apple, inventor of the iPhone and the iPad, the tablet that Amazon failed to match with its unpopular Fire Phone. The Kindle ebook reader dominates its niche but it has been around for nine years. Yet the Echo, launched in the UK and Germany on Wednesday, has found a role that Apple and Google overlooked. The Echo has seized a piece of the future just as the…

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