March 4, 2016
Internet retailer Amazon introduced two new Echo-related products yesterday: the $130 Amazon Tap — a smaller, portable version of the Echo; and the $90 Echo Dot — a hockey puck-size version of Echo, minus the powerful speaker. As is the case with the newly popular Echo, users interact with both devices via the Alexa voice service. Amazon Tap features a rechargeable battery and uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect with mobile devices and the Internet. The Dot, which connects via wire or Bluetooth, is designed to provide Alexa for existing speaker systems.
Both products are shipping later this month.
“The Tap acts as an ordinary wireless speaker for a phone, but it also provides Alexa on the go,” explains The New York Times. “People can ask about weather and traffic, ask for the news, tell it to play a song from a streaming service, or do any one of dozens of other tasks.”
“Sales will initially be limited to people who already own an Echo or one of Amazon’s Fire TV devices,” notes NYT, while “a Dot buyer will have to ask Alexa to order one.”
Sales of the Echo have significantly exceeded company expectations and the new related products may indicate Amazon has expanded plans for Echo’s future, one possible reason the company invested in Super Bowl ads about the device this year.
“The response has been nothing short of incredible,” said David Limp, Amazon SVP for devices. “This is almost unprecedented in the history of Amazon, to see this much demand and love for a product.”