Two devices have joined the Amazon Echo (we reviewed January 1) which are little sisters to Echo and Alexa (the intelligent personal assistant competing with Siri, Cortana, Google Now, Briana and others). Amazon is hoping to make the Echo Alexa duo mainstream, which it has done a good job since the Echo device is accessible without any hands, being voice activated, which is its coolest feature. And Alexa’s voice is absolutely amazing and charming.
Amazon TapSo what does Amazon Tap do? Basically, it does what the Echo does and is portable using a nine hour battery. The charger is a snap to place the Tap on making it so simple to charge. However, the caveats are, Alexa requires WiFi, you can’t voice activate the device, hence the name Tap. Once you ‘Tap’ then you can use your voice to activate commands and speak with Alexa. As Wired puts it, “As long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi, the Tap can do anything the Echo can. (As long as you remember to press that button.)”
According to The Verge ” Like the Echo and Amazon’s other new Alexa device, the Dot, the Tap works with the Alexa app on iOS, Android, or Amazon Fire devices (of course). This app shows you a visual history of everything you’ve asked Alexa, as well as links to get more information or to tell the app it heard you correctly.” The most important caveat is how AndroidCentral puts it, “The biggest difference between the Tap and the other two Echo models is its lack of ability to connect to your home smart devices. It won’t be your futuristic controller, but it can still act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.”
The nutshell version is that the Amazon Echo Dot is “a much smaller Alexa-powered connected device that does everything its big sister does” but costs $100 less than the Echo. The caveat is that you lose the speaker quality since it is smaller. Another big caveat the Motley Fool explains, “You can’t purchase the Echo Dot through Amazon’s website, or even its mobile app. Instead, you must ask Alexa, Amazon’s digital personal assistant, to order you one. That means you’ll need to already own the standard Amazon Echo, or one of Amazon’s Fire TV devices in addition to a voice remote.” It has already sold out in its first release. All you can do is pre-order it using your current Amazon device.
The caveat to the Dot is explained by AndoridCentral, as “Don’t overthink the Amazon Echo Dot — particularly if you already know Alexa. Echo Dot is what you get if you lop off the top inch and a half of an Echo. You keep the brains, of course — the voice recognition that makes Echo so powerful and Alexa so friendly. You keep the connected nature of the device — it still connects to Wifi. But you lose the decent speaker that make up the other seven inches of the Echo.”