Amazon’s planning to release a new portable version of its Internet-connected, voice-controlledEcho Bluetooth speaker, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The smaller and cheaper version of the Echo (codenamed “Fox”) will “fit comfortably in the palm of a user’s hand, like a beer can” and sell for less than the normal-sized Echo’s $180 price tag.
The report also states the portable Echo will charge using a docking station and voice commands will be limited to “push-button,” meaning you will have to press a physical button on the device to activate voice commands. Apparently, Amazon’s not going with full-blown voice-activated voice commands in order to save on battery life.
Though technically released in 2014 as an invite-to-buy device for Amazon Prime members, the Echo quickly became the must-have gadget of last year. It landed on Oprah’s Favorite Things list and earned Mashable’s pick for best tech product of 2015.
Originally limited in features, the Echo has quickly become a favorite device that acts as the hub for the smart home. Since its launch, Amazon has allowed developers to integrate the Echo’s voice assistant, Alexa, and many devices and services — including Yelp local search, WeMo-compatible devices, Philips Hue’s smart lights, and the popular If This Then That (IFTTT) automation service — now have Alexa support.
Alexa has been so well-received that Samsung has integrated it into its latest smart fridge.