Tech giant Amazon is expanding its foothold in the automated smart home space with the launch of two new Internet of Things products: the Echo Dot, and the Amazon Tap. The Echo Dot provides voice-control for home stereo systems, or it can be used to control smart home devices. The Tap is a wireless speaker that can also be used to connect to Amazon’s Alexa voice service.
Both devices are being pitched as complements to the original Echo, the voice-controlled speaker that Amazon introduced to consumers last year. Like the original Echo, the Dot (pictured, insert) uses the same far-field voice recognition technology that allows it to recognize spoken commands from as far away as across the room.
Integration with Nest and Honeywell Devices
As extensions of the Echo ecosystem, both new products add to the value of the overall platform. Additionally, Amazon has announced that it will be integrating its Echo products with Nest and Honeywell smart devices via a software update this month. That added functionality positions the new speakers as handy voice control platforms for a wide variety of smart home devices.
For the moment, however, the two new devices are being pitched as upgrades to a users’ stereo and sound systems. The Dot, for example, plugs directly into speakers either via audio cables or through Bluetooth connections. Once connected, users can give voice commands to their home stereos.
Since the Dot also comes with its own small built-in speaker, it can also be used in the bedroom as a smart alarm clock, or placed anywhere in the home or office to be used as a voice assistant.
The Tap (pictured above) plugs into the Alexa voice system Amazon introduced with the original Echo. The company is marketing the Tap primarily as a portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker capable of providing a full-throated sound experience, with dual stereo speakers, Dolby processing, extended bass response, and 360-degree omni-directional audio.
Users will be able to stream music over the Tap via a number of different services over Wi-Fi connections, including Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. Amazon is also promoting the Tap’s portability, marketing it as a speaker you can take with you on the go.
Unlike the Dot and the Echo, the Tap doesn’t use the far-field voice recognition technology to allow users to activate the device using only a voice command. Instead, users must tap a microphone button before giving verbal commands. Since the Tap connects to the Alexa system, users can verbally request it to play music, hear the news, search for information, or even order pizza.
The Amazon Tap will be released on March 31, but it is available for pre-order today at $129.99. The Echo Dot will first be available to Amazon Prime subscribers with an Amazon Echo and Fire TV, as users can only order the devices via Alexa. The Echo Dot is priced at $89.99.
Image Credit: All photos and images via Amazon.
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