Amazon has a short reads category on its Kindle Store, of books that the company estimates take about an hour to read (thirty pages or so). If you look at the bestsellers in that length, overall, it is dominated by carefully airbrushed and barechested men (many of whom are billionaires, werewolves or both); however, the category is also subdivided into just about every category one might divide books into.
Today, short e-books about Amazon’s new connected home product, the Echo, are dominating the One-Hour Computers & Technology Short Reads category on the site. Which is weird, right? Why are user manuals so hot? Are people really doing so many searches for the strange new cylinder that could maybe possibly let Amazon listen in on everything that goes on in your house?
Seven months ago, Amazon showed off the product, a conical connected device that listens to users who speak to it and can handle a wide array of commands. It’s kind of like Siri but with better ears. It debuted with a truly painful product video, featuring a suburban family made up of a know-it-all dad, thrilled-about-everything mom, hipster-over-everything brother, too-cool-for-school sister and likable little girl.
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My favorite part is when the dad uses the mobile app to call up some “Love Songs” to surprise his wife.
Meanwhile, the tech press seems to dig it. Farhad Manjoo, writing in The New York Times, likes the device overall, though he focuses on its quirks:
If Alexa were a human assistant, you’d fire her, if not have her committed. “Sorry, I didn’t understand the question I heard” is her favorite response, though honestly she really doesn’t sound very sorry.
Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan said on Gizmodo that it might be the most important product of the year.
The hacks are funnier, however: