The figure, based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. customers by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, signals that the device and its Alexa personal assistant have struck a chord with the public.

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A research firm estimates has sold 3 million Echo voice-controlled home speakers, and that close to half of U.S. Amazon customers are aware of the product.

The figure, based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. customers by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), signals that Echo, a cylindrical device that’s animated by an artificially intelligent personal assistant dubbed Alexa, has struck a chord with the public.

The device, which sells for $180, also has given Amazon a big role in the emerging field of home automation, as many people use it to control thermostats or lights that work off Wi-Fi.

It’s a big opportunity Amazon seeks to exploit. The company Tuesday opened up Alexa to all developers seeking to make smart-home devices compatible with the platform.

“Amazon Echo launched well, defining a new category in a crowded marketplace,” CIRP co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement.

Launched in late 2014, the Echo slowly picked up speed as word spread about its uncanny abilities — from answering questions to turning on the living-room lights. It was the star of Amazon’s first Super Bowl ad, featuring Alec Baldwin, and it has outsold all other home audio speakers on Amazon’s website.

Recently, Amazon launched an Alexa-powered portable speaker, dubbed the Tap, and a miniature version of the Echo, known as the Echo Dot.

CIRP says awareness of the product among Amazon customers rose from 20 percent in March to 47 percent toward the end of the year. Amazon sold about 1 million of these devices during the holiday season, CIRP estimates.

About 40 percent of those who own an Echo use it for information. The device can tell the weather, read the news or answer simple queries such as “Who’s the president of the United States?”

More than a third use it as an audio speaker for music, and nearly a fifth employ it as a control hub for other devices connected to a home Wi-Fi.