Amazon seems to be the unstoppable beast in many areas, including the smart home industry. Once the only smart home assistant speaker on the market, the company now faces competition from Google and Apple. One of Amazon’s main advantages, though, is that it was first-to-market with the product which means they are farther along in their development and able to release next generation models ahead of their competition.
Since the release of the first generation Echo, Amazon has experiment with some successful – and some not so successful – models, including the Echo Dot, the Echo Tap, the Echo Look, the Echo Show, the Echo Spot, and the Echo Plus. Each model has been designed for a particular audience – Dot for the small home or budget-conscious multi-room shoppers; the Look for the fashionistas; the Show for those that want a video interface.
And now, Amazon is targeting the next generation with the Echo Dot Kids Edition. This child friendly model doesn’t offer much in the way of hardware updates, but definitely includes tailored software as well as some subscription trials that make it appealing to families.
Since smart home speakers have hit the market, many have wondered if they are good for children and families, or if they take away from time for personal connection. This debate was further fueled when an online video showed Alexa, Amazon’s built-in Echo assistant, returning porn-related results after a child tried to use the device.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is obviously a way for Amazon to calm parents’ fears about putting these devices directly into their children’s rooms. The smart home war is real, and each company is trying to secure loyalty and interface familiarity from the next generation of smart tech and artificial intelligence users. Here’s how they made the Echo more accessible and appropriate for a younger audience:
- Amazon advertises Alexa for the Echo Dot Kids Edition as a “kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller” that can “play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more,” instead of focusing on the more adult uses like ordering food and checking the news
- The device is being sold with 1 free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a service that offers educational content from top brands
- The device is also being sold with a kid-friendly, protective case
- There is a Parent Dashboard that allows users to control when and how the device is used, including tracking activity, pausing Alexa, initiating time limits, and even filtering out content that contains explicit language
- Purchasing from the device has been shut off, so that your kids don’t accidentally place orders and leave you trying to remember making drunk purchases
- Amazon provides a 2-year-worry-free guarantee on this device, and will replace it if it gets broken
- For homes that have multiple Echo units, parents can use them as intercom systems for things like calling kids to the table for a meal
This Echo model is selling for $79, which is $30 more than the original Dot, and $20 less than the standard Echo.