The Echo's built-in functionality (music, timers, general questions, etc), is great for the average user, The addition of third party custom apps only enhances the product's appeal and that's why we're all here on the forum building exciting apps. I think the Echo's amazing technology could make it extremely useful as a specialty device for a wide range of vertical market applications. However, in specialty applications, the default Echo functions may be less important or irrelevant. Right now, you have to use "Open", "Start", "Tell", etc to start a custom app session. Obviously, this extra need for verbose commands and "user application awareness" reduces the convenience and usability of custom apps a tad. Here's a simple solution: It would be AWESOME if the USER, through a voice command or within the Echo App, could specify a single "Startup App". When a Startup App is active, this one app would get immediate control of the session when the Alexa wakeup phrase is heard. Simple example: "Alexa Set the Startup App to Horoscopes" From that point, the Echo would become a dedicated Horoscope device without the need to start the Horoscopes app explicitly when each session starts. Of course, at any time, you could say: "Alexa Cancel Startup App" and the default Echo functions would return. The above idea could obviously be refined with special tones and light ring colors to alert the user when a custom app is running at startup. I can think of dozens of specialty applications that would benefit enormously from the above feature which strikes me as something that would be fairly easy for Amazon to implement. Amazon are you out there? I sure hope some of these ideas are being heard and discussed. It would be nice to hear directly from the dev. team. Thanks, Ted Rosenberger
Hi Ted, We're out here, and we love all the feedback the community has been sharing with us! All feature requests are reviewed and discussed for potential consideration based on development bandwidth and cohesion. Please keep sharing your thoughts, and thanks for reaching out! Justin
I like the idea (it would definitely make some things easier), my only concern would be with multiple end-users. Say Jack puts Alexa into "Horoscope" mode, then leaves for work. Jill comes home before Jack and says "Alexa, play Favorite Station on Pandora." Jill would realize she needs to say "Alexa, cancel startup app" at some point (or I hope she'd realize this) in order for her to use Alexa again. I just worry if it would become a hassle for homes with multiple end-users.
I asked for this also a while ago. It could be set using the Echo app. I'd love to put an Echo in a few locations at work, with each one serving a specific purpose, and without needing to use a specific launch phrase. I doubt Amazon will do this, though. Just my hunch. I suspect a hack will be coming at some point from someone, to completely hijack the Alexa functionality and redirect it to a different service. I'm not sure about the internals and how the Echo communicates with Alexa, but it seems ripe for hacking. I also assume they are using https with some certificate hard-coded into the Echo, so it may not be easy. We'll see.