Amazon To Make Echo Available At Home Depot, Radio Shack, Other Retailers

amazonechoThree months after Amazon announced it would allow Staples to offer its high-tech, sort-of assistant speaker online, the company says it will allow retailers to sell the Echo at thousands of locations across the U.S. 

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, Amazon announced on Monday that it would make the Echo available at physical stores like Staples, Home Depot, HH Gregg, Radio Shack, Sears, Brookstone, RC Willey and others.

The device, which will make its way to stores over the next several weeks will retail for $179.99, the same price it goes for through Amazon, VentureBeat reports.

Amazon previously made Echo available to all customers back in June. Prior to that, only Prime members who placed their names on a waiting list received invitations from the company to buy the speaker.

But even then, customers who received invites had a hard time actually acquiring Echo, as wait times for shipping spanned weeks to months.

Echo, which was first unveiled in November 2014, functions much like other voice-activated devices: always on and always connected to the internet.

The device, which has been continuously updated since its debut, allows users to ask the system’s personal assistant “Alexa” to update to-do lists, set alarms and timers, check the weather, get sports and news, get answers to questions from Wikipedia, stream music, or just talk without having to worry about a sarcastic reply (that is, until machines inevitably become self-aware and sassy).

Back in August, Amazon announced it had entered a partnership with SmartThings to allow the device to essentially run consumers’ homes.

Through the new partnership, Echo would have the ability to operate any SmartThings-compatible device – or devices plugged into a SmartThings Power Outlet – in a consumer’s home.

Amazon Echo will soon go on sale at over 3,000 retail stores [VentureBeat]

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