Amazon Expands Echo Family With 'Amazon Tap' and 'Echo Dot'

After launching the Echo over a year ago, today Amazon announced two new additions to the lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company's personal assistant Alexa. Users will now be able to purchase a more portable version of Echo with Amazon Tap, and even expand the device's power into other rooms with Echo Dot.

The $130 Amazon Tap is a more rugged, pick-up-and-go alternative to the original Echo, housing built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the company's Alexa operating system. Instead of interacting with Alexa through always-on functionality, Amazon Tap requires users to tap the microphone button on the front of the speaker to access the service's voice commands. If connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot, users will be able to gain access to all of the normal, cloud-based features the Echo grants at home.

amazon tap
Amazon Tap

TechCrunch got a brief hands-on demo of Amazon Tap and came away largely satisfied with its sound quality and battery life:
Amazon demonstrated the sound quality to me before Tap went out today and I can say it did provide an impressive musical experience. Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound.

It’s also meant to tote around and comes with a pretty solid battery life for that purpose. A fully charged Tap will last for up to nine hours of playback or three weeks in standby mode.
Alternatively, Amazon also has created a new household expansion to Echo with Echo Dot. The small, palm-sized device will let users expand the capabilities of Echo to different rooms of their house for $90, or half of Echo's $180 price tag. Like the flagship Echo product, Echo Dot uses far-field voice recognition to respond to the inquiries of its user while simultaneously being able to detect commands specified towards it over other the din of a room.

amazon echo dot
Echo Dot

Echo Dot still may run into issues if it's asked to perform actions in a separate room, and having two Echo devices in the same location may also cause problems. "Dot is meant for one area at a time," according to Amazon.

No specific launch date was given for Amazon Tap or Echo Dot, but the company is attempting an interesting release plan for the latter device: users will only be able to buy the $90 Echo Dot from an Echo itself or Amazon Fire TV. The $130 Amazon Tap will be available through the company's traditional online marketplace.



Top Rated Comments

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17 weeks ago

Duel firing? Yeah, not a fan.
-Alexander Hamilton

I'll see myself out.:oops:

What, afraid it'll be an unnecessary burrden to bear? ;)
Rating: 6 Votes
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17 weeks ago

I've always wanted speakers that could duel!

Duel firing? Yeah, not a fan.
-Alexander Hamilton

I'll see myself out.:oops:
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago
Say what you will about Echo, but everyone I know that has one says it blows away Siri. Me personally, I rarely use Siri as the 'Hey Siri' functionality is hit or miss. I can be in alone in my car and it still won't answer due to background road noise (even with the windows closed).
Rating: 5 Votes
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17 weeks ago

Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound.

I've always wanted speakers that could duel!
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

No HomeKit, no dice.

Are you finding HomeKit useful? I haven't found a way to control HomeKit devices. I'm thinking about buying an Echo and a smart things hub to automate my living room (TV, speakers, lights, etc).
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago
Wake me when AI leaves the world of recognition and actually becomes interesting. It's neat that we can build computers which can do things like this, but the fact is, this is a task that humans have always been able to do. It's just not THAT interesting. The potential is there for them to surpass us, not only in recognition, but in capacity for thought. It's just nowhere close to being there yet.
Rating: 1 Votes
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17 weeks ago

Love our Echo and how much has been added to it. Both product extensions make sense. But I don't think I would buy them since I have the Echo.

"I'm sorry Sam, I can't understand you. It seems there is an echo in here."
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago

Say what you will about Echo, but everyone I know that has one says it blows away Siri. Me personally, I rarely use Siri as the 'Hey Siri' functionality is hit or miss. I can be in alone in my car and it still won't answer due to background road noise (even with the windows closed).

Not surprised. OK Google blows away Siri.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
17 weeks ago
The Echoes I've seen so far have worked really well. I would have considered it if Amazon hadn't just gone anti-encryption and pro data snooping. It may not have a direct impact on Echo, but if I'm going to start bringing devices into my home that are essentially always on, I'm going to go with a company that has shown a culture of protecting their customers from intrusion.

Not Echo, not Nest...
Rating: 1 Votes
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17 weeks ago
Love our Echo and how much has been added to it. Both product extensions make sense. But I don't think I would buy them since I have the Echo.
Rating: 1 Votes
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