Amazon has announced two new products that use their Alexa voice assistant platform. It’s the Amazon Tap and the Amazon Echo Dot.
The former is a more affordable version of the original Echo. At $129 and shipping March 31st, it’s a fair bit smaller and slimmer than the original Echo with less powerful speakers, but it can perform all the same tasks, save for the ability to issue voice commands without having to touch anything — you’ll have to press a microphone button on this one. Amazon also made it portable with its own battery, so you can carry it around with you if you need your “assistant” to tag along wherever you’re going.
Moving on, The Amazon Echo Dot is an even version smaller of those 2 — so small, in fact, that it doesn’t have any speakers of its own. Amazon says a common complaint was that you couldn’t hook the Echo up to a third-party set of speakers, so Amazon took that opportunity to include an auxiliary audio port and make it their most affordable Echo available at just $89, though oddly enough you can only order it through an Amazon Echo or an Amazon Fire TV device by saying “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.”
With this announcement, Amazon also announced that Alexa can now work with the Nest Thermostat, so you can use your voice to set it to a specific temperature, and if you tell Alexa when you leave it will know to adjust the temperature accordingly. Who’s going to buy one now that they’re more accessible and more capable than ever?