Josh Smith
March 2017

What is Amazon Echo & What Can Alexa Do?

The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot are voice control speakers that can do a surprising number of tasks. We’ll explain what Amazon Echo is and what you can do with Alexa.

Here are the best Alexa skills, which are also the most useful things you can do with Alexa, the voice control assistant that runs the Echo and Echo Dot.

If you’re looking for what you can ask Alexa, we have you covered there as well.

What is Amazon Echo?

With an array of microphones, built-in speakers and the ability to connect to Bluetooth speakers you can talk to Alexa from near or far and you can perform a surprising number of tasks. Even when the Amazon Echo is playing music, you can still say, “Alexa” and ask a question or give a command.

You’ve seen the Amazon Echo commercials where users say, “Ask Trackr to find my phone.” and then a dog burps. or when a man asks, “Alexa, what doI have on my calendar this afternoon?”, only to find out he has a dentist appointment that causes him to spit out a piece of saltwater taffy.

The best Alexa skills highlight the most useful things Alexa can do.

Alexa is always listening for your command. Out of the box it is simply “Alexa”, but you can change the Echo wake word to one that you prefer. We’ll show you how to make that change and how you can stop Alexa from listening to you.

What Can Alexa Do?

When you buy the Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa to do many things. Alexa can play music, tell you the weather, answer your questions, control your lights and thermostat, order from Amazon and much more. You can even use Alexa to turn on your TV, Xbox One, PS4 or other home theater equipment.

The Echo Dot and Echo learn new things Alexa can do through the Internet. Updates add new features and you can expand the things Alexa can do by adding skills to the device using the Alexa app on iPhone or Android.

You can do many things with Alexa right out of the box, but you will need to buy some accessories and items to let Alexa control your home and TV.

What Can Alexa Can Do

The best things you can do with Alexa.

Here are the best things Alexa can do on your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. The things Alexa can do are called Alexa Skills and you need to add many of them to your Echo before you can use them.

Right out of the box Alexa can do many things, but you will need to use the free Alexa app on your iPhone or Android to add skills and to link Alexa to other services that you can control with your voice.

Click through the slides below to see the best Alexa skills and learn more about what Alexa can do on your Echo, Echo Dot and other Alexa compatible devices.

Stream Music From Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora & More

 Alexa can stream music from Spotify to the Echo, Echo Dot or a paired Bluetooth speaker. You can also stream Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio or TuneIn radio to the Echo using your voice. 

Open the Alexa app and tap on the menu in the upper left. Tap on Settings and then on Music & MediaTap on the account you want to use and then link to your account by logging into the account. You need to have Spotify Premium installed for this service to work with Spotify.

You can log into all the accounts you have and when you ask Alexa to play you can say "on Spotify" or on a different service to choose where to listen. On the bottom of this page, tap on Choose default music services to pick the service Alexa should use if you don't specify.