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

rolsskk Avatar
77 months 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? ;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shareef777 Avatar
77 months 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).
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
77 months ago
I've always wanted speakers that could duel!
Duel firing? Yeah, not a fan.
-Alexander Hamilton

I'll see myself out.:oops:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rolsskk Avatar
77 months ago
Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound.
I've always wanted speakers that could duel!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bpeeps Avatar
77 months 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).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
77 months 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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