Online retailer Amazon has announced the expansion of its range of smart speakers with the introduction of two new devices called the Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap. The company already sells the Amazon Echo smart speaker, which was introduced back in late 2014. As for the two new additions to the company's intelligent speaker range, both the newly-announced devices come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming and support voice commands. The Amazon Tap is a portable battery-powered speaker that comes with many of the features of the original Echo and responds to the familiar name 'Alexa'. It has dual-firing Dolby speakers, is cylindrical in shape, but comes in a smaller and more portable form factor than the original Amazon Echo. The device costs $129.99 and is available for pre-order as of Thursday.
As for the Echo Dot, it too is capable of just about anything that the Tap and the original Echo can do, but the one notable exclusion is the internal speaker that can be found on the other two devices. Instead, it gains an audio port which allows it to be plugged into any standalone speaker of the user's choosing. The device is a much smaller and shorter cylinder than the original Echo, which makes it look more like a tuna can than a smart speaker from the Amazon Echo family. Apart from those changes, the device incorporates all other major features of the original Echo, and much like that device, it is also compatible with IoT and home automation products like Nest thermostats. According to the company, it has introduced the Echo Dot after receiving many requests to incorporate the audio port feature, which will allow the smart features of the gadget to be used to stream music on high quality stereo speakers. The Echo Dot comes with a $89.99 price-tag, but will only be available to people who already own the original Echo - at least for now. Both devices will start shipping later this month.
For the uninitiated, the Amazon Echo is a wireless speaker that is designed and developed by online retailer Amazon. The device was launched by the Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant in November 2014, but sales were initially restricted only to Amazon Prime members. It was only last year that the device was made available universally, and it has since earned a dedicated group of users. The Echo is far more capable than just a regular Bluetooth speaker, of which there are a dime a dozen. It acknowledges voice commands and responds to the name 'Alexa', which is the trigger word to engage the AI (Artificial Intelligence) built into the smart speaker.