Amazon expands Alexa range with new Echo Dot and Tap portable speaker [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2016
Amazon on Thursday launched two new versions of its Echo speaker, the Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap, offering more flexibility in the way people can use its Alexa voice assistant, a competitor to Apple's Siri. [Updated]

Echo Dot
Echo Dot


The Echo Dot is cheaper and more compact version of the Echo, priced at $89.99 instead of $179.99. While it includes a built-in speaker, it's meant to connect to more powerful external audio units, whether via Bluetooth or a bundled cable.

As with its bigger sibling the Dot can be asked to do things like play music, get news, search for information, set an alarm or timer, and control a select range of smarthome devices. Music playback is limited to Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Prime Music. The device can also be used to order goods from Amazon and Domino's Pizza, or hail an Uber.

Amazon is offering the Echo Dot only to Prime subscribers, who must also order using Alexa on an Echo or Fire TV, and are limited to one per order and two per customer.

Amazon Tap
Amazon Tap


Though not technically branded with the same name, the Amazon Tap is essentially a portable version of the Echo with up to nine hours of battery life. Because it may not be plugged into a power source, Alexa must be triggered by tapping a button on the device -- voice commands also require that the speaker be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

With or without Wi-Fi, the Tap can still be used as a generic Bluetooth speaker for paired devices.

The Tap can be preordered today for $129.99, and will officially launch on March 31. While the speaker itself is black, Amazon is also selling a $19.99 "Sling" accessory in white, black, blue, green, purple, and orange colors.

Update: Amazon said that the Echo Dot orders will eventually open to the general public.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    sog35 said:
    And the FBI and clueless public want weaker encryption on iPhones.......

    Ridiculous.  The FBI and government should be pushing for STRONGER encryption.
    I disagree the public actually wants it. Tell them all the facts and they will decide they do not.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 641member

    Amazon is offering the Echo Dot only to Prime subscribers, who must also order using Alexa on an Echo or Fire TV, and are limited to one per order and two per customer.

    It was kind of intriguing until I saw what a pain in the ass they are making orders.  I'm a "prime" subscriber. Check. Now to order the damn thing, I need to use "Alexa" and buy either an Echo or Fire TV?  I don't even know what Alexa is and I don't want a Fire TV.  If I bought an Echo why would I want this?


  • Reply 3 of 11
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,476member
    williamh said:

    Amazon is offering the Echo Dot only to Prime subscribers, who must also order using Alexa on an Echo or Fire TV, and are limited to one per order and two per customer.

    It was kind of intriguing until I saw what a pain in the ass they are making orders.  I'm a "prime" subscriber. Check. Now to order the damn thing, I need to use "Alexa" and buy either an Echo or Fire TV?  I don't even know what Alexa is and I don't want a Fire TV.  If I bought an Echo why would I want this?



    Yeah I as was a bit confused about this as well, Alexa is some app for IOS or Andriod similar to Siri or google voice which allows you to order stuff from amazon on your phone. Amaizon makes it sound like you need those things to buy these new product, where in fact you can just order it with your prime account. Again what is not clear they make is sound like Dot or even Alexa does not work unless you have a prime account. Maybe it just for ordering which make sense but you should still be able to have it interact with smart home devices in your home without having a prime account. May be this is Amaizon way of locking you into their ecosystem.


    Okay went back and reread it all, yes you are only allow to order it via the Alexa app on your phone. They also said, limit quantities only, once gone never to be offer again. What is that all about, why make a product which can only be bought once.

    edited March 2016
  • Reply 4 of 11
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,157member
    maestro64 said:
    williamh said:


    Yeah I as was a bit confused about this as well, Alexa is some app for IOS or Andriod similar to Siri or google voice which allows you to order stuff from amazon on your phone. Amaizon makes it sound like you need those things to buy these new product, where in fact you can just order it with your prime account. Again what is not clear they make is sound like Dot or even Alexa does not work unless you have a prime account. Maybe it just for ordering which make sense but you should still be able to have it interact with smart home devices in your home without having a prime account. May be this is Amaizon way of locking you into their ecosystem.


    Okay went back and reread it all, yes you are only allow to order it via the Alexa app on your phone. They also said, limit quantities only, once gone never to be offer again. What is that all about, why make a product which can only be bought once.

    I think the confusion is the app is called Alexa, but when you talk to your Echo, you have to say Alexa. I'm looking at the app right now and I don't see a place to order it anywhere. The app just says:

    To order your Echo Dot, just ask: "Alexa, order an Echo Dot". 

    You can't do Alexa commands in the app. The Alexa commands are for the Echo. 
  • Reply 5 of 11
    This is one thing I wish Apple would've done and hope will do.. 

    A Siri device similar to Echo (that also doubles as an AppleTV). I see that as an ultimate hub for a smart home. A step closer to having a Jarvis in my house.

    The Echo is limited but I see the potential and it will get even better as more devices and services integrates with it. Can you imagine Apple coming up with one for Siri? Apple has far more advantage than Amazon if they do because they own both hardware, software, services, has huge ecosystem of apps and 3rd party integration..
  • Reply 6 of 11
    kent909kent909 Posts: 708member
    ireland said:
    sog35 said:
    And the FBI and clueless public want weaker encryption on iPhones.......

    Ridiculous.  The FBI and government should be pushing for STRONGER encryption.
    I disagree the public actually wants it. Tell them all the facts and they will decide they do not.
    I disagree with both of you. People who want strong encryption buy iPhones and those who don't buy Android. The clueless public does not know what it wants beyond the shiny object in front of them. By the way what does this have to do with the article?
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 7 of 11
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,429member
    This is one thing I wish Apple would've done and hope will do.. 

    A Siri device similar to Echo (that also doubles as an AppleTV). I see that as an ultimate hub for a smart home. A step closer to having a Jarvis in my house.

    The Echo is limited but I see the potential and it will get even better as more devices and services integrates with it. Can you imagine Apple coming up with one for Siri? Apple has far more advantage than Amazon if they do because they own both hardware, software, services, has huge ecosystem of apps and 3rd party integration..

    Apple wants you buying iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs to interact with Siri. Soon to be Macs, too. Having Siri-only devices doesn't make a lot of sense (yet). It is nice that the Echo can double as a speaker, though.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    maestro64 said:
    williamh said:


    Yeah I as was a bit confused about this as well, Alexa is some app for IOS or Andriod similar to Siri or google voice which allows you to order stuff from amazon on your phone. Amaizon makes it sound like you need those things to buy these new product, where in fact you can just order it with your prime account. Again what is not clear they make is sound like Dot or even Alexa does not work unless you have a prime account. Maybe it just for ordering which make sense but you should still be able to have it interact with smart home devices in your home without having a prime account. May be this is Amaizon way of locking you into their ecosystem.


    Okay went back and reread it all, yes you are only allow to order it via the Alexa app on your phone. They also said, limit quantities only, once gone never to be offer again. What is that all about, why make a product which can only be bought once.

    Actually, the article makes it confusing, not Amazon. I got the email from Amazon this morning announcing it, clicked the link and had a Tap ordered for my sister's birthday in about two minutes. If you want to order a Dot, you do need to do so from either the Alexa app, the Echo Speaker or Fire TV and be a Prime member. I'm assuming this is due to low supply or Amazon is testing the waters to see if the thing will be popular enough for a wide scale roll out. They did the same thing when they launched the original Echo. It was only offered to Prime members by specific invite, and the waiting list was a month to three months long (it took me two to get mine.) 
  • Reply 9 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,016member
    less encryption than a Nomad... Lame!
  • Reply 10 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,268member
    maestro64 said:
    williamh said:

    Amazon is offering the Echo Dot only to Prime subscribers, who must also order using Alexa on an Echo or Fire TV, and are limited to one per order and two per customer.

    It was kind of intriguing until I saw what a pain in the ass they are making orders.  I'm a "prime" subscriber. Check. Now to order the damn thing, I need to use "Alexa" and buy either an Echo or Fire TV?  I don't even know what Alexa is and I don't want a Fire TV.  If I bought an Echo why would I want this?



    Yeah I as was a bit confused about this as well, Alexa is some app for IOS or Andriod similar to Siri or google voice which allows you to order stuff from amazon on your phone. Amaizon makes it sound like you need those things to buy these new product, where in fact you can just order it with your prime account. Again what is not clear they make is sound like Dot or even Alexa does not work unless you have a prime account. Maybe it just for ordering which make sense but you should still be able to have it interact with smart home devices in your home without having a prime account. May be this is Amaizon way of locking you into their ecosystem.


    Okay went back and reread it all, yes you are only allow to order it via the Alexa app on your phone. They also said, limit quantities only, once gone never to be offer again. What is that all about, why make a product which can only be bought once.

    Amazon is positioning the Echo and Echo Dot as a hub for home control/automation. Turn lights on and off, set the A/C temp, that type of thing. They already have a number of home appliance and automation partners with Alphabet's Nest being one of the most recent and higher profile ones. 
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