Amazon Echo is a great smart speaker that can response to voice commands like “Alexa, play indie music” or “Alexa, how’s the weather?”.
It was released back in November of 2014 without much fanfare but has proven to be an absolute success for Amazon. They’ve built on the basics playing music and answering of questions and have added control of your smart home devices including your lights and thermostat. There’s even an app store of sorts that include 3rd party “skills” from ordering an Uber or playing a quiz game against Alexa or a friend. Amazon Echo was first to market and has gained a considerable share of the smart home market. However, the issue with Echo is that it’s not very smart because Amazon just started to build the platform, which heavily relies on Wikipedia for answers.
Now, Google has swooped in to compete with it’s own smart home device called Google Home. Google Home has many of the same features as Echo but it has access to the full knowledge graph of Google Search. It was also was built on top of Google Cast technology so it integrates with your TV. These two factors and the price, which is $50 cheaper than Echo, make it a really interested piece of hardware for your home.
However, if you’re thinking about replacing Echo with Home and already have a Pixel or Android phone you have to ask yourself what can Home do that my Pixel phone can’t. The answer is not much. So if you want to save $129, you can simply connect your phone to Echo and use it a Bluetooth speaker by following these steps.
- Go to your phones Bluetooth settings and enable Bluetooth pairing mode.
- Tell Alexa to “Pair”.
- Go back to your phones Bluetooth settings on your phone and select your Echo.
Once you connect your phone to Echo, you can essentially replicate what Google Home does. It can stream music from any app, including YouTube. It can answer your questions that you ask Google Assistant with the prompt, “Ok, Google”. It can even call or text your friend by voice command. Pretty cool, huh?