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What is the Difference Between Alexa and Echo?

Many people have been asking about Echo and Alexa and whether those are synonymous or are different products. 

So, what’s the difference between Alexa and Echo? Alexa is Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant software, while Echo is Amazon’s proprietary device that runs on Alexa’s artificial intelligence. Alexa is just the name of the software that runs on these devices which include Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Echo buds. 

Alexa is available on other non-Echo devices as well, like certain smart TVs, smartphones and watches, Android smartphones, and iOS.

Amazon Echo vs Alexa 

Amazon Echo Dot 4th Generation

There are a few key differences between Echo and Alexa. 

The software

Alexa refers to the software that drives Amazon’s popular smart speakers and other Echo devices lineup. It is a cloud-based personal assistant that can play music and check in on your day and do a lot of other things. 

Alexa has a built-in skills library of apps and works with a wide range of products like Ecobee thermostats, smart speakers, WeMo, and Nest thermostats, so you can control your house’s lighting and temperature with your voice alone.

The hardware

The Amazon Echo is a device you control with your voice—no touch screen required. You can do all sorts of things with it, like check news, order food, and play music from your favorite streaming service (like Spotify or Pandora). Plus, if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can even add things to your shopping list. 

How Alexa works

Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant, developed by Amazon and accessible to users of Amazon’s products and services via a cloud-based voice service. 

Alexa can do thousands of things, from calling someone in your contacts book, to playing music on demand, to reading audiobooks, to adding things to your shopping list.

Alexa can be controlled by voice, by way of any enabled devices like Amazon’s lineup of Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Echo smart speakers, or with an app (available for iOS and Android), which allows you to use Alexa on your phone. 

It requires either Wi-Fi connectivity or an active data connection via your phone’s mobile network in order to work effectively.

Tips for using Alexa

Alexa is a powerful tool for controlling your smart home and accessing information and entertainment, but it’s not always easy to use. To get more out of Alexa, here are some handy tips to help you get started with Amazon’s virtual assistant right away. 

  • The first thing you need to do is enable voice control on all devices that support it (like Fire TV or Fire Tablet). 
  • Next, go through each device one by one and customize what kinds of information can be accessed via voice commands—this way you won’t have Alexa telling you that she can’t find something when in fact she just hasn’t been told how to search for it yet.
  • Finally, try to use simple commands and vocabulary—you’ll get better results with simpler language. The more natural and conversational you are, with pauses between commands and words, Alexa will understand what you’re saying to her better than if you try to force something into a rigid formula of separate keywords that don’t have any meaning in themselves.

How to set up your Amazon Echo

From getting an Amazon account to installing a free Alexa app on your phone, here’s everything you need to know to get started with your Amazon Echo and Alexa. 

First, download and install the Alexa app on any iOS or Android device. Plug in your speaker and connect it to Wi-Fi. 

Once that’s done, you can use voice commands to control things like smart home devices like Philips Hue lights and August locks. 

You can also ask for news updates from sources like NPR, BBC News, ESPN Radio, and more. 

If you want to play music from streaming services like Spotify or Pandora, however, you’ll need to link those accounts in your Alexa app first—that’s how you set up your Amazon Echo and Alexa. 

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