Amazon Echo garners retail distribution, highlights smart home ambitions

Amazon's Echo device will be available at Home Depot and other appliance retailers. The distribution highlights how the Echo is being positioned as a connected home hub.

Sarah Tew

Amazon's Echo has graduated from an interesting experiment to a product that now has mass distribution through brick-and-mortar retailers.

CNET

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The e-commerce giant's Echo device is a voice activated device that serves up music, information and increasingly is used as a smart home hub.

Amazon's list of distributors highlights how Echo is being positioned as more than an entertainment tool. For instance, Echo will be available at The Home Depot and Sears. Both of those retailers sell appliances, tools and the Echo will be presumably positioned in that mix. HH Gregg is also an electronics retailer who is focusing on appliances.

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On the surface, the Echo seems like an odd fit for retailers like Home Depot until you realize that Amazon is gunning to be a smart home hub. Amazon is increasingly dabbles with Dash buttons, automated supply purchases and smart home management it's clear Home Depot could be a key partner.

Amazon's list of retail partners still indicates that the Echo will be positioned as an entertainment device, but the connected home effort is worth noting. Echo has integration with Philips, Samsung, WeMo, Insteon and Wink. This integration allows Echo to turn on the lights, fan and control the heating.

Echo's other features for local search, calendar, music and the Prime connections aren't surprising. One thing is clear: Amazon has floated the Echo with early adopters and is now betting that the device can get some real traction with a wider chunk of consumers.

Amazon's Echo price is $179.99, but it's worth watching discounts for the device as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

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