Amazon expands Alexa's ecosystem with Echo Dot and Amazon Tap

The new Amazon Echo Dot

The new Amazon Echo Dot

For those who have been waiting for a smaller, or more portable version of the versatile Amazon Echo smart speaker, your wait is over. Say hello to Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.

Ever since its introduction over a year ago, the Amazon Echo has continued to become more useful and intelligent, tracking right along with Alexa’s personal assistant talents. Lately, it’s become quite suited for home automation, with many different integrations from Insteon to Philips Hue, and now, even Nest.

The Echo Dot features a much smaller physical size, but retains the array of microphones that enables its far-field listening ability. This array allows Echo Dot to accurately listen for commands from nearly anywhere in a room, or even down a hallway.

The battery-powered Amazon Tap.

The battery-powered Amazon Tap.

Echo Dot does not contain the room-filling speaker that comes with the full-size Amazon Echo, but allows you to play its audio or music via Bluetooth or connected through your own sound system and speakers. The Echo Dot does contain a small speaker that will still play voice responses and audio, but not with the high-quality sound of the full Amazon Echo.

Amazon also introduced the Amazon Tap, a battery-powered, portable version of the Amazon Echo. It features the same room-filling, 360-degree stereo sound of the Amazon Echo and the interactive listening features of Alexa. However, since it is battery-based, it doesn’t contain the always-on listening feature of the Amazon Echo or the Echo Dot.

The Amazon Tap does offer Wi-Fi streaming and connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspots, which means you can take it nearly anywhere that you have cellular data service on your smartphone. Also available are protective "carrying cases / covers" in bright colors to help prevent damage to Amazon Tap when you're taking it on trips.

You can pre-order the Echo Dot today, but only from an Amazon Echo or Fire TV. However, Lifehacker discovered a way to pre-order it from the Amazon iOS app. The Amazon Tap can be ordered right on Amazon’s website with no weird restrictions at all.

We here at Lighting Answers look forward to these new “Echoes” from Amazon and will have a lot of fun finally showing off Alexa’s home automation talents.