Amazon Echo Wish List 2017

News that Amazon sold nine times more Echo speakers this Christmas is unsurprising. Echo Dot is absurdly cheap, and Amazon's Alexa service is by far the most capable when you look at total available commands. At the same time, there's a lot of room for Alexa to grow and improve in the coming year. Things to be added, changed, and in general improved in order to make this the best possible connected home hub.

Here's where I'd like to see Amazon Echo head in 2017.

Connect to one another

Amazon Echo

Because they're so cheap, I now have a single Amazon Echo and multiple Echo Dots in my house. Yet if I want to play music, I can only play on one of them at a time. I'd like to be able to sync all of my Echo systems together for total home audio.

We're already seeing this work on other platforms, so it's unlikely Amazon will wait too long to adopt this feature. In doing so, Amazon is making it possible to easily connect any kind of speaker, since the Echo Dot can connect via 3.5mm jack. That makes every decent speaker an Echo, which is going to be a great feature to have.

Unified command structure


Amazon's command list is huge, but it's also broken up into classes right now. You can say "Alexa, do X" or you can say "Alexa, ask Y to do X" and that second part gets complicated. Sometimes partner app names are long and the command becomes more complicated than just picking up your phone.

Amazon could unify these commands and make it possible to set favorite apps from the Alexa app, so if you have multiple skills enabled with the same basic command structure Alexa knows which service you prefer unless otherwise specified. It seems like a small change, but it'd make a big difference in how people speak to their connected hubs.

Alexa from my phone

Amazon Echo

I'm not always in the same room as one of my Echo speakers, and there's no way I'm going to convince my family it's alright to put an Echo Dot in the bathroom. Sometimes Alexa needs to be portable, and the way to do that is to make it something I can enable from my phone.

This isn't going to be easy, and will likely never be allowed to be as functional on phones as Siri or Google Assistant or Cortana, but people embedded in this ecosystem that don't own a Fire Tablet would love the Alexa function wherever they are.

Voice reminders for re-ordering

Amazon Echo

Once you figure out all of the details, shopping for quick things through Alexa is great. The one thing it doesn't handle super well right now is re-ordering things, especially if you're on a subscription and it's not time for that subscription to re-send.

Being able to check in on a subscription status with something like, "When am I set to order toothpaste again" would be incredible useful. It'd also be nice to ask for a re-supply of something you have on a subscription order and have Alexa respond by asking if you want to adjust the ship date of the next subscription since you're ordering early. Making Alexa seem more aware of your ordering history and acting based on that would be a great way to create a more complete experience here.

What would you ask Alexa to do?

Did I miss anything here? Are you looking for Amazon Echo to support something more? Share your thoughts with us!

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

  • I'd love to be able to use multiple Echos as an intercom system. We have one upstairs and another downstairs. Life would be great if I was downstairs and could call the kids to dinner without yelling up the stairway!
  • This.
  • Yes yes
  • That would be awesome!!!
  • I still don't see how they launched the 6 pack deal without this functionality. Seems like a no-brainer to me. They would have moved so many more units over the holidays.
  • I can haz all the government surveillance I want.
  • I'd like echo to notify my phone when fire alarms, doorbells, laundry, etc make noise
  • You might be able to use IFTTT for some of that, and take Alexa out of the loop.
  • Trying not to buy new devices or do any programming myself
  • Ifttt is free and easy to use.
  • I'd like to be able to control my Fire TV with it. "Alexa, play The OA on Netflix on my Fire TV." "Alexa, play Pat Metheny on Spotify on my Fire TV."
  • You're supposed to be able to do that already
  • It doesn't seem to work, and I haven't found any documentation or examples of anyone doing it.
  • I believe you can use Alexa to do this if you are using Alexa on your Fire TV (with the voice remote), but you can't use Alexa on an Echo to control the Fire TV.
  • Right.
  • Install the Roger app and you can control Alexa from your phone. It's not perfect, but it will let you look things up and control home automation.
  • If you just want Alexa on your phone, you don't need to install an app for that. Just use the Echo Simulator in your browser:
  • I'd like the ability to define a dictionary of request directly in echo that will process it as a different request. This is mostly to allow request to ifttt to follow the same syntax. It's difficult explaining to my wife when we have to say trigger and when we don't. That's just a simple example.
  • Expanded availability in international markets such as Australia.
  • I'd like the Echo to learn its surroundings and know what room it's in, what devices are in that room, etc. So, it would know that it's in my living room where I have my smart lights and FireTV. If I say turn on the lights or watch Netflix, it's knows what lights or TV to use. I don't want to always say "Turn on my Living room lights".
  • I'd like for it to be a little more funny in some of the responses. Like how people was asking Siri what she was going to do for Christmas.
    And be smarter on questions. But function wise.
    I'd like it to control my Roku.
    Stream the same music across devices.
    That intercoms feature would be nice that someone else mentioned.
    Control my Roomba (it may already do that)
    FM radio tunner
  • Connecting to my Google Voice account and notify me when I have voicemails and give me the ability to listen to them
  • Thought of some more. Do weather alerts. Without saying Alexa first. Similar to my weather radio and phone. Then I can get rid of my weather radio. Hourly chimes, like my grandfather's clock did. A better 'find my phone'. Maybe one that ties into Google or iPhone, or Tile. So I don't have to run another app.
  • I would like for the echo to connect to my phone via blutooth and make calls and send messages through it
  • Mainly I think the Alexa devices need to be able to communicate with each other. This communication could enable the whole home audio mentioned in the article, the intercom mentioned by a commentor, controlling the Fire TV mentioned by another commentor, etc.
  • Id like her to verbally translate words for me instead of just writing them in the alexa app. Id like to be able to easily link her to my contacts so i can send text messages by voice without using my phone. Id like to be able to change the search engine to anything other than bing. Id like to choose my own wake up word. Im tired of saying Alexa.
  • Add more than the UK Premier League football teams to the system! Currently about 80+ teams missing! I have the Echo and Dot. With hindsight the whole thing is a overrated waste of time. It's basically a novelty voice activated digital radio.
  • Two things... 1) It's English" Premier League
    2) There are only 20 Teams in the Premier League. Then there are the 72 teams in the three 24-team tiers below the Premier League (the English Football League). These aren't currently natively supported by Alexa. Sorry to be a pedant.
  • I agree with everything in the article, but would also like to see better reminders/alarms. Instead of "Set an alarm for 10 minutes" I'd like to see "Remind me to feed the dog in 10 minutes" and have it give that specific reminder. That would also function as a better alarm; instead of "Set an alarm for 6:00 a.m." (knowing I might hit snooze 30-40 times" I'd like to see "Remind me I have to catch a flight at 6:00 a.m."
  • Ubi App is the app I use to command Alexa from my phone. It works perfect for every use I want from my phone!
  • Good list. In the future I would also like to see echo have the ability to distinguish different users by voice and allow separate user accounts.
  • This. My wife wants me to set up a Dot in the bedroom so she could listen to her Amazon playlists. I could just easily set the Dot up under her account, but if I wind up connecting the lights, then it would have to be my account, since I have already have the hub on my account.
  • I would like the search to be improved. Google Home has Google as it's backbone. While the Echo searches as acceptable for simple phrases any contextual or slightly complex questions are beyond its capability. A quick solution would be for Amazon to purchase HOUND. And voice to person recognition, tied to their account, calendar, notes, shopping list, alarms, reminders, etc would be helpful.
  • 1.) Announce my (or anybody in my households arrival)
    2.) Act as a walkie talkie/intercom
    3.) add an alarm shortcut on android and make it so I can create new alarms (on my phone) not just reactivate old alarms activated by voice
    4.) Next gen, have a small screen that shows relevant information (time, volume level, alarm icon) (would be the best alarm clock ever)
    5.) New wake word names (Amazon, Alexa and Echo are not enough) Plus my daughters name is really close to Alexa so we have to annunciate
    6.) Ability to use different colors on the Echo LED ring. There is a cool nite light skill but the light is blue
    7.) Voice reminders instead of just timers. Alexa remind me to do X at 8:30pm. Then at 8:30pm she says "remember to do X" instead of just playing an alarm tone.
  • I would like to set reminders like "... remind me to leave for the doctor at 2pm". Then at 2pm, Alexa would respond with something like "it's 2pm leave for the doctor".
  • Great article, Happy New Year! As others mentioned, it would be great to link echoes --play the same tunes (synchronized) in different rooms; and the idea of a intercom is excellent. Currently, I can use the Echo remote --located in a different room-- to make an announcement on the Echo (in another room) by using "Simon says" command, but that is clunky and only good for entertaining the kids. Also Russell's point on clunky commands -second party app commands like: "Alexa tell [company A app] to do [specifically worded-command only]" is both a memory teaser and a logic test. Sometimes, when one almost gets the command right and Echo does not respond correctly, or does nothing, it is quite frustrating.
  • Alexa, show traffic on the TV.
    Alexa, show security cameras on TV.
    Alexa, turn on/off TV.
    Alexa, what does [some word] mean in English. Alexa, translate [some word] to [some language].
    Alexa, where's my remote? And have her respond sarcastically, "Have you checked the crack of your... couch?" Also, how many times do I want to use the timer and alarm contexts, and intercom mentioned above. So obvious and so frustrating that she can't already do that! A lot of other good comments above, too. And when is SONOS capability coming!
  • You can control your TV with a Harmony remote/hub. I do it now. Alexa, turn on the TV. Alexa, turn on Fire TV (turns on tv, audio, switches to fire tv input). Alexa, turn on NBC. That sort of great.
  • Just got Harmony last week and I'm still working out the what if's. I have to say "Alexa, trigger [insert command here]" because I'm using IFTTT as a bridge between Echo and Harmony. I have to see what I can do with Harmony alone.
  • Definitely intercom system and whole home audio would be nice. Those are my two biggest requests. I also would like for them to push some of their current skills to be updated with more functionality. Hopefully they'll do that this year.
  • My Wishlist:
    1) Connect them! Home intercom, stream music, let timers/alarms run through multiple units...
    2) Play nice with Google. I would love to use Keep for my to-do list and send audio/video to Chromecast. Lets face it, we live in a mixed device world... so get over it and learn to play nice with others!
    3) Expand the developer support for custom commands. Currently, having to say "Alexa, ask y for x" (Ex: "Alexa, ask the house if the garage is open") is a pain. Why can't I make my own commands for my devices? Oh, and the hoops you have to jump through to get the Home Skills Kit to work with your on custom devices on my home network is doable but very complicated (Skill <-> Lambda <-> Node Red server -> Device).
    4) Allow developers (or at least users on the same local network) to get/send commands/events. Let me know when my alarm or timer is done so I can send an alert to my phone if I wanted to. Let me push a message to play back a when something happens. Allow me to make Alexa proactive instead of just reactive.
  • With the insteon skill I just say "Turn on bedroom light" I Don't have to say "Ask Insteon to turn on the bedroom light" but I'd like to have more versatility to say "Alexa, Illuminate the bedroom"..
  • I want Alexa to recognize people so that I can say "Alexa, remind Mary to take the trash out Wednesday morning"
  • I just want Alexa to search Google for simple answers, and not come back with "I don't know how to help you with that."
  • A skill to remotely start my truck :-) obviously would need a code to secure it, but would be handy (OK, mostly just cool).
  • You can already do that with existing home automation platforms using simple relay controls
  • 1. Leave pre-recorded messages that family members can play back
    2. Remote simon says so I can yell at the dog when I see them on the couch on the camera
    3. Integration with FireTV so I can say "Play some movie on FireTV"
    4. Support for Google Play Music
    5. Remember context of my last question:
    - How old is Donald Trump?
    - To whom is "he" married?
    6. Allow use as a voice target for IFTTT so I can say "At 10pm, say "Time for bed kids, don't forget to brush your teeth" etc
  • I would love to be able to have Alexa set an alarm that would use music as its sound, instead of her selection of alarms. If I could use the phone app to set my alarm to something like "WBJC on TuneIn", and then when I said "Alexa, set an alarm tomorrow at 6am," the sound I'd get would be that radio station.
  • I've been saying since the Dot released that they need to add Intercom to the system. The other thing I'd like to coincide with that is some sort of wall mount setup. Maybe a dual plate sized unit that replaces a light switch and taps it for power.