Amazon’s wildly popular Amazon Echo is now expanding into portability and stand alone voice assistance.
The Echo originally debuted last year and has a 4.5/5 star review rating from over 33k users on Amazon.com and costs $179.99 with free shipping. It has been a bestseller for many months once users learned how easy and helpful the little speaker is. Not only could the virtual voice assistant Alexa, Amazon, or Echo (names) be controlled to play music over WiFi and Bluetooth, it could also control home automation, answer everyday questions, create shopping lists, set reminders and alarms and read audiobooks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the Echo can do which explains its insane popularity.
The best part is you can control the Echo through voice commands or manage it through an Android and/or iOS app. The voice recognition on the Echo is unparalleled.
Amazon managed to keep its latest announcements a secret until the release today.
Amazon Echo Tap
The Amazon Echo Tap finally brings portability to the virtual voice assistant. The original Echo could only be used while plugged into a wall outlet, because the “always listening” feature is a major source of power consumption. The Echo Tap can be pre-ordered right now and is already pre-selling as the number one new release. It will be released March 31, 2016 so you might want to get your orders in now as the first Echo still continues to sell out on a regular basis. It will cost just $129.99 with free Prime shipping and will offer similar functionality to the Echo with portability.
- Nine hours of playback
- Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
- Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
- Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
- Includes Charging Cradle
Unlike the original Echo, the Tap will not be “always listening” to preserve battery life. You will have to push the microphone button built into the speaker.
You can also pre-order a Sling Cover for $19.99 which will protect your Echo Tap as well as make give you a loop so you can hang it. It will come in six colors and is made from durable silicone.
Amazon Echo Dot
The other virtual assistant Amazon announced today is the Amazon Echo Dot. This unit will be available in limited quantities and can only be ordered from an existing Amazon Echo or Fire TV for $89.99.
“Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses the same far-field voice recognition as Amazon Echo. Dot has a small built-in speaker—it can also connect to your speakers over Bluetooth or with the included audio cable. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly.”
It is essentially the Amazon Echo minus the large speaker functionality. It’s purely a voice assistant and can expand your love of the Echo at a cheaper price. Instead of a large speaker, it will be more sleek and streamlined with a small speaker for talking back to you.
Check out the Amazon Echo Dot at Amazon.com.
The Android Amazon Alexa app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for free.