Amazon unveils a more expensive Echo Dot version, aimed at children

Amazon this week introduced a Kids Edition of its popular and affordable Echo Dot smart speaker. The product comes equipped with a kid-friendly version of Alexa and is sold with a bright protective case in Blue, Green and Punch Red hues. The new Echo Dot comes with a year’s subscription to FreeTime Unlimited services and a two-year warranty.

For the kiddie Echo Dot version, Amazon has turned Alexa into a “kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller.”

Hardware-wise, the new Echo Dot is no different from the standard one. But what sets it apart from the “adult” version is the FreeTime service which comes pre-activated on board. Speaking of which, the service can be enabled on other Echo devices you might have around the house.

FreeTime on Alexa is divided in two tiers. The basic free service which includes parental controls, and the FreeTime Unlimited service which you get on board of the Echo Dot for kids.

Hey kids, Amazon has a smart speaker for you

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa means kids get access to more than 300 child-friendly Audible books, ad-free radio stations and Alexa skills for kids. After the year ends, you’ll have to pay a $2.99/month subscription. If you’re an Amazon Prime member that is.

FreeTime also offers a host of parental controls, such as the ability to block explicit songs from Amazon Music or set limits for when kids can use the Echo Dot. Adults can also block voice purchases and choose the content their children can listen to.

But the most interesting part is that Amazon has programmed Alexa to answer questions differently on the child-friendly Echo Dot. For example, one of its objectives is to reinforce positive behavior such as saying “please” and “thank you.”

Furthermore, Alexa will also answer questions differently. So, when you ask the adult version of Alexa how many planets are in our solar system it will simply answer 8. But ask the kiddie-version the same question and it will name each of the eight planets and provide additional details.

The new Echo Dot Kids Edition is currently available for pre-order for $79.99. This means it’s more expensive than the standard Echo Dot that is priced at $49.99. The new smart speakers are expected to start shipping on May 9, 2018.