17 surprising things the Amazon Echo can do that you might not know about

The Amazon Echo is an incredible smart home gadget. It’s no surprise that it’s expected that there will be one in 40% of UK households by the end of 2018.

With over 15,000 commands and skills available on the Amazon Echo and Echo Show, the amount of things it can do to help and entertain you is incredible.

Before we show you 17 of our favourite (and surprising) Alexa skills, you can experience the magic of owning an Alexa before getting one in this amazing interactive tour that lets you experience some of 15,000 Alexa skills she has to offer.

1. Control your home

The Amazon Echo will make any home feel like the futuristic palace you’ve been waiting for. When connected to compatible smart home gadgets, the Amazon Echo can make life easier (and much cooler) with its host of awesome features.

Using just your voice, you can control the lights in your home – either through immediate requests or various settings you can create in advance. This means that you can turn off the living room lights to create an instant cinema, nod off in tranquility in the bedroom or create the perfect lighting for your dinner party – all without having to get up!

The Echo can also link up with your thermostat so you can keep yourself, friends and family in ultimate coziness in your home, just by talking. Welcome to the future people!

2. Connect with your friends and family

You probably never knew you could make calls on the Amazon Echo. Well, you certainly can. You can talk hands-free to anyone in the world who has a supported Echo device or the Alexa App with no tapping or searching needed.

Don’t want to chat? Well, Alexa’s got you covered for that too. You can send voice and text messages to anyone with an Echo device or the Alexa App.

And, if you have the Echo Show, you can make video calls with its 7” touchscreen too. What’s even better, is the service doesn’t cost you anything more. So you can stay in touch with friends and family around the world more easily than ever before.

The only downside – it’s more difficult to come up with excuses if you don’t want to pick up!

3. Help you make a decision

If you ever find yourself in a quandary, then Alexa can help you out by flipping a digital coin and exclaiming ‘heads’ or ‘tails’. A pretty handy skill in this contactless-payment world we find ourselves in. Just don’t get cross if she doesn’t give you the answer you were secretly hoping for.

4. Sing you a song

Not content with having one of the most famous voices on the planet, Alexa’s vocal talents extend to singing too. She can sing Christmas songs to get you into the festive spirit during the holidays. She also knows the words to ‘Happy Birthday’ if you need someone to practice your harmonies with on your special day.

5. Read you a bedtime story

The Amazon Echo and the AI personal assistant, Alexa, can read you an audio book from the thousands on offer on Amazon. Not only that, but the device can also read Kindle books aloud too. Great for when you’re cooking, doing housework or don’t fancy falling asleep with a book on your face.

6. Help you get to sleep

If you need to hear an ambient sound to fall asleep, this Alexa skill can help. You can ask the Echo to play a specific sound or a cycle of sounds and can even set how long you want to listen to them for too. There are 20 sounds that are proven to help calm and relax you, so you should be able to find an option to help you sleep.

7. Get your sweat on

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just stay healthy, there’s a wide range of Alexa skills that are focused on fitness. There’s a 7-Minute Workout that will get you exercising, increase metabolism, improve energy, lower stress, and best of all, remove fat (apparently seven minutes exercise on a daily will bring enormous benefits).

Alternatively, you can choose Yoga or Pilates and connect with your Fitbit to track your general progress.

8. Order you a pizza

If you link the Amazon Echo up to your Domino’s Pizza account and simply say, ‘Alexa, feed me’ she’ll order you your usual pizza straight from your local pizzeria. This skill will probably get more diverse as other brands get involved in the near future too. So that’s pretty cool.

9. Help you become Batman

If you’ve ever wanted to be Batman, but didn’t have the abs or the billions of dollars required, today’s your lucky day. You can play ‘The Wayne Investigation’, an audio-adventure game from Warner Bros, via the Amazon Echo. The game sees you investigate the murder of Batman’s parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne, in this choose your own adventure style puzzle game.

If that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other games available. ‘Beat The Intro’, the game that started out life as a family DVD, is available to play with Alexa amongst many, many more.

10. Stream live football

Earlier this year, Arsenal became the first football club to launch its own Alexa Skill, known as Arsenal Skill for Alexa. Fans get live commentary and real-time match stats during the game, plus pre-match build-up, line-ups, score updates and post-match analysis. Not amazingly useful if you’re a Spurs fan, but still, impressive.

11. Inspire you

The Amazon Echo can access speeches from modern greats such as Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey, to give you that little boost when you need it.

In addition, she also has access to every TED talk. So, if you ever have a moment of self-doubt, a simple chat with Alexa and you’ll be offered up industry experts, entrepreneurs and political and spiritual leaders on a digital plate.

12. Make you laugh

The Amazon Echo can make you giggle in a number of different ways.

Straight off the bat, the Alexa AI has a number of in-built jokes immediately accessible and she can keep churning out one-liners until she’s blue in the face/LED ring. In addition, both the Pickup Lines and Nerdy Pickup Lines skills, that reel off a host of cheesy chat up lines, come highly recommended by users.

13. Tell you what’s happening on Mars

Alexa and NASA’s Curiosity Rover on Mars happen to be pals. They’re always talking and as a result she can tell you where on Mars the Rover is and what it’s doing.

If that’s not enough, you can use skills like ‘Space Weather’ and ‘Martian Weather’ to track storms happening around the universe.

14. Become a metronome

Ever fancied yourself a rock god or pop queen? Well, Alexa’s here to help as one of her skills is to help keep you in time with her tick tock metronome beat.

If you need inspiration, just ask her to play your favourite songs and she’ll oblige.

15. Cast a spell

Since an Echo feels like magic, this might not be that surprising. However, after the Harry Potter prequel ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them’ came out, Amazon decided to add a host of ‘spells’ and related skills to the Echo. Alexa also comes with a number of Harry Potter trivia quizzes and can test your knowledge of the HP universe.

16. Help make the perfect drink

Cocktail lovers rejoice! Alexa and the Amazon Echo can talk you through making the perfect drink. She’ll tell you what ingredients you need to buy, how much of it to add and in what order. You’ll seem like master mixologist in no time and will immediately impress your friends with a round of expertly made cocktails. Just remember to drink responsibly people.

17. Manage your finances

Amazon has enabled a new skill that allows you to access your bank information, such as checking recent transactions and paying credit card bills. You don’t need to worry about people accessing your private information, as you can create a 4-digit personal code that you’ll need every time you ask Alexa a banking-related question.

Head over to Amazon for more information and details about the Amazon Echo and Echo Show and discover even more amazing skills they can do.