We heard a couple of months ago that Amazon was working on a smaller, more portable version of its Echo voice assistant speaker, and now it’s here. Actually, Amazon has announced today two new Alexa-enabled devices, the Echo Dot (which is the aforementioned smaller version of the larger Echo), and the Amazon Tap, which is essentially an Alexa-enabled portable speaker…

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The Echo Dot brings pretty much all the capabilities of its bigger sibling, but ditches the speaker hardware that makes up most of the standard Echo’s bulk. There are pretty much two ways to use the new Echo Dot. The first is to use its less-powerful built-in speaker and keep the Dot in a smaller room, or you can hook the Dot up — via an auxiliary cable or Bluetooth — to a more powerful sound system. One practical use case for the Dot is to hook it up to your sound system in your living room, essentially Echo-enabling the more powerful speaker system.

Amazon Tap, while it is an Alexa-enabled device, doesn’t have the tech on board to be considered part of the “Echo” brand. While the Dot offers the voice recognition of the the Echo without the speaker, the Tap is a great portable speaker without the far-field voice recognition. Tap does, however, support Alexa, which allows you to do things like play music in Spotify, control Echo-compatible smart home accessories, check the news, request Uber rides, order a pizza, and more. Amazon Tap has dual stereo speakers that “provide crisp vocals, extended bass response, and 360° omni-directional audio.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Echo Dot is that you can’t order one from Amazon’s website directly. Due to supply constraints this early on (and perhaps an easy way to introduce you to voice ordering as well), Amazon is only allowing Amazon Prime members that already have an Alexa-enabled device to order the Dot. You have to say “Alexa, order an Echo Dot” on your Alexa-enabled device to order one for the time being, and it’s going to run you $89.99. The Amazon Tap costs $129.99 and you can pre-order now on Amazon’s site.

Be sure to read our review of the Amazon Echo, in which we said the device is well worth it even at its higher $180 price. More than 33,000 Amazon reviews also rave of the product, averaging at 4.5 stars.

Amazon Introduces Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, Two New Alexa-Enabled Devices
SEATTLE—March 3, 2016—Amazon today announced two new Alexa-enabled devices: Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Directly connect Echo Dot to speakers with an audio cable or via Bluetooth, and add voice-control to your home stereo system. Plus, with its small built-in speaker, you can place Echo Dot in the bedroom and use it as a smart alarm clock, or in any room as a voice assistant to control smart home devices and more. Echo Dot is available for $89.99 exclusively for Prime members through Alexa Voice Shopping. To order an Echo Dot, existing Echo and Fire TV customers can just say “Alexa, order an echo dot.” Learn more about Echo Dot and see a video at www.amazon.com/echodot.

Amazon Tap is an Alexa-enabled portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker that offers rich, full-range sound. Just tap the microphone button and ask for music, hear the news, search for information, order a pizza, and more with the Alexa Voice Service. Amazon Tap has dual stereo speakers with Dolby processing that provide crisp vocals, extended bass response, and 360° omni-directional audio. Amazon Tap is available for pre-order today for $129.99. Learn more about Amazon Tap and see a video at www.amazon.com/amazontap.

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