The most indispensible gadget of the year

December 22, 2015, 7:00 PM UTC

The staff of Fortune recently assembled the best business moments of 2015. Here’s one of our picks.

Amazon (AMZN) reported $500 million more in revenue than analysts expected last quarter. We’re not saying it was because of the year-old Amazon Echo, but this $179.99 device has been one of the most successful products launched by the online retailer. The cylindrical speaker contains seven microphones and listens for your queries and commands. It also answers questions, controls most connected home gadgets, plays bingo, and recites your schedule. Sure, it sometimes has trouble with queries (it can’t define “aubergine,” for example), but the best part is, it gets smarter all the time. Think of it as Amazon’s first step in the race for electronic personal assistants.

This article is part of Fortune’s Best in Business 2015 package of highlights and lowlights of the year in business, politics and the economy by the writers and editors of Fortune. To see the entire package, click here.

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