In November of 2014, Amazon shook up the home automation market when it released the Echo, a smart home assistant that responds to voice commands. The product was a smashing success, and Amazon soon followed up with two new products in its Echo line, the Echo Tap and the Echo Dot. The Tap is the portable version of the original Echo, and the Dot is like its younger sibling. The dot is a smaller version of the original Echo, meant to be used in secondary location in the house, like in craft rooms or garages.
Both devices were released in March of 2016. The Tap was released as a permanent product, but the Dot was released to Amazon Prime members only, and only for a limited time. At this time, the Dot was priced at $89.99, and had to be an existing Echo or Fire TV users since the only way to order it was through the Amazon smart assistant, Alexa. While I was a user already, I hesitated to order the Dot. I kept checking back, and even started an order a few times, but never completed my order. Then, one day, Amazon told me that the Dot was sold out. I had immediately FOMO, and I lived with it for a few months. Then, recently, my previous hesitation was completely justified.
Amazon just widely released the “all new” Echo Dot. It’s remastered, but most importantly, it’s only $49.99. I immediately pre-ordered mine and am waiting patiently for the October 20th release date. Many of the early adopters are upset about the price increase, and I get it. Typically, beta users get a product for cheaper than the general public. The original Echo is a great example of this – I got mine for just $99 with the remote. The retail price for the Echo is $179, and the remote is now sold separately. This is one time, though, that I am happy I waited.
So, what’s new? Well, the most obvious thing is that the Echo Dot is now available in white, where it was previously only available in black. This 2.0 version also claims to have improved its voice recognition and has some technology that allows all Echo device to work together (another pain point for early adopters).
I am already using my main Echo in my living room, and I plan to put my Dot in my bedroom. One of my main uses for it will be as an alarm clock, though I’m not looking forward to having to speak to shut it off. I’m not much of a morning person. The Dot is also capable of connecting to a Bluetooth speaker with a simple voice command, so I’ll connect it to the speaker in my bathroom so that I can have music in the shower.
Amazon is pushing the Dot hard, and at the time of its release and the publishing of this article, they are offering a deal where you get a free Dot if you buy five Dot devices. Amazon wants to be in every room of your home.
Photo by: Amazon