Amazon had to scrap the original name of the Echo last-minute after Jeff Bezos called for a 'better' name, which meant the first customers got their devices in unmarked black boxes

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Amazon had to scrap the original name of the Echo last-minute after Jeff Bezos called for a 'better' name, which meant the first customers got their devices in unmarked black boxes
An Amazon Echo Dot is picture above in 2018.Mike Stewart/AP
  • The Amazon Echo was renamed around a month before its launch in 2014.
  • The device was originally named the "Amazon Flash," according to a new book by Brad Stone.
  • In "Amazon Unbound," Stone recounts Jeff Bezos saying Amazon could find a better name.

It took years before Amazon landed on the Echo name for its voice-controlled smart speakers, and with "no consensus," the device almost had a different name entirely.

"The team debated endlessly whether there should be one name or two for the virtual assistant and the hardware," Brad Stone writes in his new book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire," which recounts the history of the e-commerce giant.

Eventually, after four years of discussions, the team settled on two names: Alexa would be the virtual assistant, and the Amazon Flash would be the speaker component.

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Packaging with the Flash branding was all in order, and the team planned on pushing news updates referred to as "Flash briefings."

However, in a meeting about a month prior to the product's launch in 2014, CEO Jeff Bezos said: "I think we can do better." Thus began a mad dash.

The resulting name of "Echo," Stone reports, came from an already-existing feature in Amazon's Alexa.

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Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Amazon is quietly building a new Alexa device to help you sleep better

"There wasn't enough time to print new boxes or user manuals," Stone wrote, "so the Echo's earliest buyers ended up receiving plain black boxes." The manual was even written without once specifying the name of the product.

Once the Echo was named and ready to be sent out, Stone reports, there was a waiting list of over 100,000 would-be Echo owners. Its launch was a success, which Amazon needed at the time: As Insider reported in 2016, the launch of Echo followed the failed launch of Amazon's Fire Phone.

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Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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