The home smart speaker market didn’t even exist just a few short years ago, but it’s taking the world by storm. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) introduced the category with the debut of Echo, the hands-free speaker, powered by its cloud-based digital assistant Alexa. It has since been joined by sibling products — the smaller Echo Dot and the wireless Tap — with Alexa at the heart of each one.
Source: Amazon Echo Dot
Last week Amazon announced two new devices to join their original Amazon Echo device which has now been widely available since June 2015. The two new devices work similarly to the Echo and share a common design theme but each has their own unique features and limitations in comparison to Echo. For instance, while the Amazon Echo works with automatic voice recognition, the Amazon Tap requires a user to manually press a button on the device to give it a command since it does not have the ability to recognize the Echos wake word Alexa.
The company was very slow in rolling out Echo because at first, it didn’t do very much. The original version of the product was part wireless speaker, part voice-controlled assistant, and part gimmick. As an early purchaser of the product who paid the Prime invitation price of $99 for it, I liked Echo as a voice-controlled music device, but I certainly didn’t consider it a digital assistant or a home-automation device.
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<blockquote class="curated_content">Amazon is bringing the capabilities of its $170 Echo wireless speaker and personal digital assistant to two new products: the Tap and the Dot. The $129 Tap is a portable battery-powered little sister of the Echo, and the $89 Dot brings Echo capabilities to any sound system. The Tap is available for preorder and will ship March 31.</blockquote>