Amazon, targeting smart homes, adds devices to 'Alexa' family

March 3, 2016
Amazon will sell the Amazon Tap, a $130 voice-activated portable speaker, and the Echo Dot, which can control light switches, th
Amazon will sell the Amazon Tap, a $130 voice-activated portable speaker, and the Echo Dot, which can control light switches, thermostats and other connected devices by voice command

Amazon unveiled two devices Thursday in the family of its "Alexa" voice-activated personal assistant, aiming for a bigger foothold in the smart-home market.

The US online giant announced it would sell the Amazon Tap, a $130 voice-activated portable speaker, which connects to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot "to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza."

The second device is called the Echo Dot, a basic $90 sibling of the original Echo which can control light switches, thermostats and other connected devices by voice command.

The Dot will only be made available to customers with existing Amazon devices, and may only be ordered with the voice command, "Alexa, order an Echo Dot."

Amazon launched its effort in 2014 with its Echo speaker, using the same kind of artificial intelligence employed by Apple's Siri, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana, among others.

Internet titans such as Apple and Google are eager to make their platforms into hubs that exploit the powers of smartphones, tablets or other devices to control entertainment, information, temperature, lighting and more in smart homes.

The platform could let Amazon jump ahead in that race with the first device in homes that will be listening and ready to act whenever people might think of something they want or need to buy.

Amazon has been adding partners to its Alexa platform, including the Spotify streaming music service, which it made a feature of its Fire TV, enabling voice searches for viewers.

Explore further: Amazon gives new power to personal assistant, 'Alexa'

Related Stories

Custom Alexa voice commands enrich Echo's options

November 23, 2015

Amazon Echo is a wireless speaker and voice command device from Amazon. The device wakes up to the name "Alexa" which is Amazon's voice-controlled personal assistant. Alexa is the voice that delivers information and obeys ...

Recommended for you

New method analyzes corn kernel characteristics

November 17, 2017

An ear of corn averages about 800 kernels. A traditional field method to estimate the number of kernels on the ear is to manually count the number of rows and multiply by the number of kernels in one length of the ear. With ...

Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications

November 16, 2017

Multiband tunable antennas are a critical part of many communication and radar systems. New research by engineers at the University of Bristol has shown significant advances in antennas by using optically induced plasmas ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.