Amazon Debuts New Smart Speaker Edition Designed for Kids

Amazon is introducing the $80 Echo Dot Kids Edition with FreeTime services. Intended for children ages 5 to 12, the modified Echo Dot features a brightly colored, protective rubber case; kid-friendly content from the likes of Audible, Disney and iHeartRadio; and parental controls such as time limits, activity review and content filtering. Users can wake up to alarms based on characters from Disney, Nickelodeon and others. The speaker, which is available for pre-order and starts shipping May 9, includes the same two-year replacement guarantee that Amazon rolled out for its Fire tablets for kids.

“At $80, it’s a $30 premium over the standard Dot,” notes TechCrunch. “That price jump is largely due to the software included herein, making the device a bundle of sorts. It covers a year of FreeTime Unlimited — which includes a new premium version of the company’s smart assistant built for kids.”

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Content includes “300 Audible books, an ad-free version of iHeartRadio Family and skills and content from the likes of Disney and National Geographic.”

The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a protective rubber case in red, green, or blue — and the two-year replacement guarantee, regardless of circumstance. The new speaker features the same tech as the standard Echo Dot, including “seven far-field microphones for picking up voice commands, a built-in speaker for playing back Alexa’s voice responses or music, and the ability to connect to a larger speaker via Bluetooth or an audio cable,” reports The Verge.

“The basic FreeTime on Alexa service blocks out certain Alexa features, such as shopping, news, and third-party skills that require linking external accounts,” adds The Verge. “The Parent Dashboard displays which songs, skills, and Audible books are accessed on Alexa, and it allows parents to delete any voice snippet recordings.”

Since the speaker is intended for children, the voice detection tech has been optimized for higher pitched voices and common mispronunciations like “Awexa.” In response to requests from parents, a FreeTime feature called Magic Word “provides positive reinforcement when kids use the word ‘please’ when asking Alexa to do something.”