Amazon's new Echo Connect enables voice calls to regular phone numbers, whether they be for businesses and other landlines, or regular mobile numbers that you may have stored in your contact list. Amazon has unveiled the Echo Connect at a hardware event that it's holding in Seattle, Washington today, alongside other new hardware products like a brand-new Echo speaker. The Echo Connect will cost $35 and is meant to be plugged into a landline phone, and will then also connect to your Echo speaker so that the voice calling feature will work. The Echo Connect is not yet available for purchase but it is already up for pre-order today which means you will be able to pay for the device now and it will begin shipping later this year.
Since this is meant to be used with a landline phone this might limit some people's use of it, for instance, those that only have a mobile phone and use that as their one phone number for contact. That said, you can still use the Echo Connect to call mobile phone numbers as long as they're stored in your landline phone's contact list. The Echo Connect will even let you call 911 if the situation arises.
Amazon has yet to reveal any information on when exactly the Echo Connect will go on sale officially outside of pre-order status, but once it launches consumers who have it will just need to plug it in to an existing RJ-11 jack and then all calls made with the Echo and Echo Connect combo will utilize the landline phone number. This way calls route through the regular landline phone network which should be safer, and it means that the call recipients will see a familiar phone number they already know with your name attached so there aren't any surprises on when a call comes in. For those that don't have a landline and rely on their smartphone to make all their calls, it's still possible to make voice calls using an Echo speaker, as long as the recipient either also has an Echo speaker or has the Alexa app installed on their smartphone, a feature which Amazon started rolling out to users back in the beginning of May.