Amazon Echo Speaks, But Cannot Read
Amazon’s awesome-looking new in-home digital concierge* can do a hundred and one things, including answer questions, stream music, and tell you that it’s time for you to get a watch, but this blogger has learned that bibliophile might not be happy with some of the Echo’s shortcomings.
I just got email from Amazon pr which shared the bad news that the Echo won’t support streaming audiobooks, and it won’t be able to read Kindle ebooks aloud.
The Echo can stream the radio and stream music, so I suppose you could upload an MP3 audiobook and stream that, but it’s not going to ship with support for either Audible or Kindle.
And that’s a shame, because books would have been one of the reasons I would want to buy an Echo. I find the idea of having a book read to me while my hands are busy with house work appealing.
What’s more, adding ebook and audiobook support would have turned the Echo into a very accessible "reading" device for the visually impaired, and the physically impaired. Amazon has taken a lot of grief from some quarters for the lack of audio support on the Kindle, and I think a voice activated reading device would have done a lot to salve that wound.
What do you think? Would you use a reading feature if it were available?
P.S. I got the description of "in-home digital concierge" from Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles podcast. It’s a better phrase than anything I had come up with.