The Echo's primary function is as a Bluetooth speaker, but with its integrated voice activation system, it becomes much more. The cylinder sits dormant until its name is called, at which point it can follow directions to perform tasks like playing your media or checking out web searches. At launch, the device will be compatible with several smart home programs, and as time goes on, the Echo should have significant third-party development, so you might soon be controlling your entire house with just your voice. The whole Supercompressor team spent a day working from Ted's apartment recently, and we spent most of the time talking to the Echo and asking Alexa to do our work for us. I definitely left wishing I could take one home myself.