In short: Amazon has also debuted Echo Auto today, which is a way for it to bring Alexa into your car. It is a small Echo that sits on your dashboard and is able to do everything that an Echo speaker would be able to do at home. However, Echo Auto is also location-aware. So it is able to know when you are getting close to being home and can turn on the lights, open the garage and so forth. This is because you can do location-based routines, so that you can set Alexa to do a number of things when you pull into the driveway. At this point, it does not have navigation included, but that should be coming soon. You can of course still stream music, podcasts and more using Alexa. There are also eight microphones included on Echo Auto, and they are designed for auto acoustics, so even with music playing, Alexa will still hear you. Amazon does also have a button you can press to turn on or off the microphone, in case you don’t want Alexa to get activated by mistake, or for her to hear everything you are saying. It is also powered by a micro USB cable.
Background: The Echo Auto won’t be the first to bring Alexa into the car, Garmin announced a product earlier this year that does it, and it also includes a small screen and navigation – so it might be a better option for some people. By bringing Alexa into the car, it means that users can use Alexa virtually anywhere, and that is exactly what Amazon wants its users to do.
Impact: Amazon is going to be shipping the Echo Auto later this year, but it will be an invite-only type of launch. Similar to the original Echo and the Echo Look. Those that sign up to be invited will be able to get the Echo Auto at half off of the regular price, so it’ll be $25. It will be priced at $50 after the invite-only phase is over.