Amazon releases “Amazon Tap”, a portable Echo, and “Echo Dot”, a smaller Echo

Amazon Tap

Amazon has expanded the Echo, and made it into a gadget family: The original Echo is joined by the portable Tab ($130) and the Dot ($90), a smaller version of the Echo.

TechCrunch:

Amazon Tap is essentially a Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker with built-in WiFi and the Alexa operating system.

Tap works by, well, tapping the microphone button and asking for stuff. It weighs about a pound and enables Alexa fans to take the cloud-based voice command service with them on the go so you can order an Uber, a pizza or play music from Prime or iTunes anywhere you want. However, you will need to connect to WiFi or a mobile hotspot for that function to work.

The Tap is a portable version of the Echo, but not (yet) the the smartphone or smartphone-like device I thought Amazon might do. (But, again, give it a few iterations and the Tap and the smartphone category might converge.)

TechCrunch on the Dot:

The aptly named Dot is the kid sister version of Echo. According to Amazon, the Dot came about after a whole bunch of customers asked for a way to hook in their own speakers to Echo.

This device is, essentially, an Echo, but for half the price at $90. It comes with the same far-field voice recognition technology, has a built-in speaker with Bluetooth-enabled capabilities and connects to Alexa.

The cool factor is that you can place several of these around the house and they will act as voice-command centers for each room you place them in and will understand your commands from across the room, even you are playing music, kids are screaming or the TV is on, says Amazon.

Echo Dot

The important part: Both the Tap and the Dot can, like the Echo, act as your smart home hub.

To limit its initial orders, and to make sure you don’t ‘just’ use the Dot, and to maybe test out the capabalities of its platforms Amazon sells the Dot only through Echo and the Fire TV at the moment.

Later this month Amazon’s Alexa, the voice interface platform behind the Echo, Dot and Tap, will be able to control Nest and Honeywell thermostats. This is a pretty big integration, essentially cementing the Alexa platform as the go-to smart home hub for the US for the time being.

When Amazon expanded Alexa to the original Fire TV and Fire TV Stick I wrote:

This is yet another step in making the Alexa voice interface available everywhere. But there is a little bit more to it: As we discussed before the more voice inputs the Alexa system gets to analyze the better its voice recognition becomes. That is a classic scale effect. It makes sense for Amazon to push every device of its own to be able to use Alexa. The more the merrier.

Those two won’t be the last new Alexa/Echo devices this year.

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3 comments

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  3. […] Amazon releases “Amazon Tap”, a portable Echo, and “Echo Dot”, a smaller Echo […]

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