The Amazon (AMZN) Echo family of products have become a hit, selling more than 11 million devices since according to research firm Morgan Stanley. While it's neat to have a device that can be your own personal Jarvis, it's all powered by one major part -- Alexa.
Without Alexa, Amazon's personal assistant, users wouldn't be able to listen to music, ask for sports scores, check stock quotes and other everyday tasks. Ergo, it's kind of important to your enjoyment and Amazon's strategy as well.
"I suspect we're just seeing the beginnings of Amazon's Echo and Alexa strategy at this point," said Jan Dawson, Jackdaw Research chief analyst. "It's recently downplayed these products as drivers of e-commerce and it seems fairly clear that these are instead intended to be Trojan horses for creating a broader ecosystem within the home and potentially beyond."
I've owned an Echo for a little over 18 months, and it's by far my favorite new gadget that I've gotten in that time frame. It's a blast at parties and genuinely makes mundane and simple tasks more fun, which is exactly Amazon's point.
With more than 7,000 skills and counting, developers have really taken to the Echo. But without a visual, some of the skills and awesome things Alexa can do (thanks to developers) can get lost in the shuffle.
TheStreet compiled a list of ten fun, but obscure tasks you can do with the Amazon Echo -- all without lifting a finger.
Editors' pick: Originally published March 13.
As if you needed to make your life easier, Alexa can order you your Domino's (DPZ) for you.
Part of what TheStreet's Jim Cramer calls "the stay at home economy," Domino's is really a technology company that happens to deliver pizza. To use the Echo to order Domino's, all you need to do is create a profile on Domino's website along with an easy order. Once you've ordered, you can track the order with Alexa at each step.
Once you've created an easy order, when you want to order it again, simply say, "Alexa, open Domino's and place my Easy Order."
Running late to your friends birthday dinner and need a car? Just ask Alexa.
The Amazon Echo allows you to order an Uber using your Uber account. If you just want a regular UberX, all you have to say is, "Alexa ask Uber for a ride." If you want a bit nicer of a ride, you can order from Uber Black, UberXL or get an SUV as well.
Ever wanted to be Batman but didn't have the billions of dollars to help get you started? Just ask Alexa for a push.
Using The Wayne Investigation from Warner Bros., Alexa allows you to find out who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne in this fun mystery game.
If you're feeling sluggish, Alexa can be your personal trainer and whip you into shape.
Fitbit (FIT) has an Alexa skill that lets you see how your sleep was, how many steps you've taken or get a quick update on how your physical fitness is today. You can even switch between various Amazon profiles so that you can get data from multiple Fitbit accounts on one Amazon Echo.
Though Alexa can't tell you the meaning of life (yet), it can solve your biggest question everyday -- what do I want for lunch?
With the Food Suggestion skill, Alexa can help you get out of your rut of getting a salad at the local deli or getting pizza -- again. Be sure to leave a tip for Alexa when she's done.
The next time your friends rattle off their impressive amount sports trivia, you can do the same -- thanks to Alexa.
With the Ultimate Sports Quiz skill, you can have Alexa ask you ten sports trivia questions each time to help beef up your knowledge.
If you've ever been put in a position where you need to decide between two items, often times you'll pull out a coin and flip heads or tails.
Now, you can do that with a number of flip a coin skills from Alexa. It makes decision making much more fun, and there's no one to be angry at when Alexa picks heads and you really REALLY wanted tails.
If you've had a rough week, Alexa can help you take the edge off.
There's a Patron Tequila skill that can help make margaritas and other tequila-based drinks. It can also teach you about tequila and give you some bartending tips to boot.
Since alternative facts seem to be all the rage these days, Alexa can help you get in on this craze too.
With the Tell me an Alternative Fact skill, all you have to do is enable it and ask Alexa to tell you an alternative fact and you're on your way.
What list would be complete without Alexa doing your shopping for you?
You can connect your Echo to your Prime account and re-order past orders or ask Alexa what her deals are today, among a myriad of other shopping features. It gives you all the joy of shopping without even getting up off the couch to get your phone or MacBook.
Ain't life grand?