New York Times contributor Farhad Manjoo takes a closer look at Amazon's Echo, which he believes may beat out products by Apple, Google, Facebook, or Microsoft as the most promising candidate for the "Next Great Gadget".

Why? Manjoo claims that unlike the latest smart watches or computerized glasses, the voice of Echo—Alexa—has a way of gently sneaking into users' daily routines and making them wish they could use Alexa to do pretty much everything.

In this way, Amazon has found a surreptitious way to bypass Apple and Google—the reigning monarchs in the smartphone world—with a gadget that has the potential to become a dominant force in the most intimate of environments: our homes.

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