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After launching the Echo over a year ago, today Amazon announced two new additions to the lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company's personal assistant Alexa. Users will now be able to purchase a more portable version of Echo with Amazon Tap, and even expand the device's power into other rooms with Echo Dot.

The $130 Amazon Tap is a more rugged, pick-up-and-go alternative to the original Echo, housing built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the company's Alexa operating system. Instead of interacting with Alexa through always-on functionality, Amazon Tap requires users to tap the microphone button on the front of the speaker to access the service's voice commands. If connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot, users will be able to gain access to all of the normal, cloud-based features the Echo grants at home.

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Amazon Tap​

TechCrunch got a brief hands-on demo of Amazon Tap and came away largely satisfied with its sound quality and battery life:
Amazon demonstrated the sound quality to me before Tap went out today and I can say it did provide an impressive musical experience. Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound.

It's also meant to tote around and comes with a pretty solid battery life for that purpose. A fully charged Tap will last for up to nine hours of playback or three weeks in standby mode.
Alternatively, Amazon also has created a new household expansion to Echo with Echo Dot. The small, palm-sized device will let users expand the capabilities of Echo to different rooms of their house for $90, or half of Echo's $180 price tag. Like the flagship Echo product, Echo Dot uses far-field voice recognition to respond to the inquiries of its user while simultaneously being able to detect commands specified towards it over other the din of a room.

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Echo Dot


Echo Dot still may run into issues if it's asked to perform actions in a separate room, and having two Echo devices in the same location may also cause problems. "Dot is meant for one area at a time," according to Amazon.

No specific launch date was given for Amazon Tap or Echo Dot, but the company is attempting an interesting release plan for the latter device: users will only be able to buy the $90 Echo Dot from an Echo itself or Amazon Fire TV. The $130 Amazon Tap will be available through the company's traditional online marketplace.

Article Link: Amazon Expands Echo Family With 'Amazon Tap' and 'Echo Dot'
 

shareef777

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Jul 26, 2005
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Say what you will about Echo, but everyone I know that has one says it blows away Siri. Me personally, I rarely use Siri as the 'Hey Siri' functionality is hit or miss. I can be in alone in my car and it still won't answer due to background road noise (even with the windows closed).
 
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samcraig

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Jun 22, 2009
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Love our Echo and how much has been added to it. Both product extensions make sense. But I don't think I would buy them since I have the Echo.
 
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rockosmodurnlif

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Apr 21, 2007
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Say what you will about Echo, but everyone I know that has one says it blows away Siri. Me personally, I rarely use Siri as the 'Hey Siri' functionality is hit or miss. I can be in alone in my car and it still won't answer due to background road noise (even with the windows closed).
Not surprised. OK Google blows away Siri.
 
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ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
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Amazon has a winning strategy here despite the ugly design of its devices. I would get a few of these but I'm all in with HomeKit and I like Siri. I'm hoping for an AppleTV update to enable HomeKit commands and to take on the full feature set of Siri on iOS. Right now, I'm ok with using the AppleTV remote to call up Siri but it would be great if AppleTV could work with "Hey Siri" from across the room.
 
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unplugme71

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May 20, 2011
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The only way to get voice control in a room working accurately is to mount three or four small microphones in the ceiling (center of room).

You then have a single controller, that listens to the multiple streams of voice commands and compares them. If Joe is heard in 3 rooms, which is his voice loudest in? The microphones would be positioned at a slight angle to pick up noises from the far edges of the room up to the center.

Having an echo in each room would obviously get annoying. It's not designed well for multi-room support.
 
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frumpy16

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Dec 8, 2008
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Love our Echo and how much has been added to it. Both product extensions make sense. But I don't think I would buy them since I have the Echo.
"I'm sorry Sam, I can't understand you. It seems there is an echo in here."
 
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rigormortis

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Jun 11, 2009
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they should of included a cellular option. kind of weird to carry around a portable version of the amazon echo but have it be wifi only. kind of weird to carry around a phone with OK Google or Siri , so your echo will have something to connect to. might as well just saved the money and used the phone

imo , ok google looked like an app in the app store. contana looked like an app that you had to load before asking it stuff. apps will always have more features then stuff that is built into the operating system like siri. ok google sorta looked like an app i had to load. but it also kind of looked like a feature that was built into android.

maybe you should complain that Microsoft word will always be better then word pad and tell people to not buy windows
 
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samcraig

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Jun 22, 2009
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"I'm sorry Sam, I can't understand you. It seems there is an echo in here."

Or an Alexa...
[doublepost=1457030367][/doublepost]
they should of included a cellular option. kind of weird to carry around a portable version of the amazon echo but have it be wifi only. kind of weird to carry around a phone with OK Google or Siri , so your echo will have something to connect to. might as well just saved the money and used the phone

imo , ok google looked like an app in the app store. contana looked like an app that you had to load before asking it stuff. apps will always have more features then stuff that is built into the operating system like siri. ok google sorta looked like an app i had to load. but it also kind of looked like a feature that was built into android.

maybe you should complain that Microsoft word will always be better then word pad and tell people to not buy windows

I don't think people want another data plan for a speaker. Wifi makes sense here.
 
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rdlink

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Nov 10, 2007
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Out of the Reach of the FBI
Are you finding HomeKit useful? I haven't found a way to control HomeKit devices. I'm thinking about buying an Echo and a smart things hub to automate my living room (TV, speakers, lights, etc).

I love it. I have several Hue lights that I bought a few years ago, so I bought the new HomeKit compatible Hue hub when it came out. I also have the Lutron Caseta system. I also own the HomeKit compatible Ecobee 3 thermostat, but I haven't installed it yet. I can control my lights easily with Siri. I have scenes that I use to turn lights on and off throughout the house with my voice. I have a command that turns on my kitchen lights in the morning, and another one that turns on my bedroom lights. I also have a goodnight command that turns out all my lights except a few that leave on at a very low level. I have geofencing set up so that my house goes into an away state when I leave for work in the morning, and my lights come back on as I'm walking up to my apartment.

I, personally would recommend the Lutron Caseta over the Hue, because it's switch based, and doesn't require special bulbs.

I use an app for my HomeKit devices called Home. It costs $15, but it has a lot of features, including the ability to set up geofencing rules, etc.
 
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Ziggy...

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Nov 28, 2011
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Are you finding HomeKit useful? I haven't found a way to control HomeKit devices. I'm thinking about buying an Echo and a smart things hub to automate my living room (TV, speakers, lights, etc).

If you are really serious about setting up a smart home and want Siri home kit support I suggest you take a look at a Github project called "home bridge" I am currently using it paired with my Samsung Smarthings hub (best hub on the market in my eyes) and I can tell Siri to turn on/off my lights/tv/nest/music etc. I have it paired with an app called home ($15) and The whole system works beautifully (slight bug here and there)
 
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bpeeps

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May 6, 2011
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If you are really serious about setting up a smart home and want Siri home kit support I suggest you take a look at a Github project called "home bridge" I am currently using it paired with my Samsung Smarthings hub (best hub on the market in my eyes) and I can tell Siri to turn on/off my lights/tv/nest/music etc. I have it paired with an app called home ($15) and The whole system works beautifully (slight bug here and there)
I'll have to check this out. So far I have a Harmony hub and remote for my entertainment system. I was planning on installing Smartthings hub and outlets to control my lights (not a fan of Hue). And then I planned on getting an Amazon Echo and using IFTTT to setup commands. I didn't see Siri compatibility with IFTTT, so that's why I was leaning more towards the Amazon Echo.
 
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DoctorTech

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Jan 6, 2014
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Say what you will about Echo, but everyone I know that has one says it blows away Siri. Me personally, I rarely use Siri as the 'Hey Siri' functionality is hit or miss. I can be in alone in my car and it still won't answer due to background road noise (even with the windows closed).

I would concur with everyone you have been talking to who owns an Echo. I've had mine for almost a year and it has the best speech recognition of any device I have ever seen. It also continually amazes me how I can ask it plain english questions and it will come back with the correct answer to my exact question (i.e. asking "how tall is Mt. Everest" will yield the actual height on Echo but Siri will just say, "I found an article about that on Wikipedia" then you have to read the article and hope it contains the answer to your question).
 
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Markoth

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Oct 1, 2015
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Wake me when AI leaves the world of recognition and actually becomes interesting. It's neat that we can build computers which can do things like this, but the fact is, this is a task that humans have always been able to do. It's just not THAT interesting. The potential is there for them to surpass us, not only in recognition, but in capacity for thought. It's just nowhere close to being there yet.
 
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amro

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Jul 7, 2008
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Yeah, so I have iDevices and an iMac and live in the world of iOS, and I can say without reservation, Echo is awesome. I have one setup in my open living area with an open kitchen, and "Alexa" can hear me from an echo filled kitchen without me having to yell at her or talk to her like us Americans tend to talk to foreigners.

As for HomeKit, I'm not feeling it now. I've got an Insteon based system and have good control of lights and garage doors and soon to be home theater. And Echo has made it tons more fun. It certainly requires more work, but to me it's worth it. Smart homes are still the wild, wild west of standards and we are all paying the price for that.
 
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Analog Kid

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Mar 4, 2003
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The Echoes I've seen so far have worked really well. I would have considered it if Amazon hadn't just gone anti-encryption and pro data snooping. It may not have a direct impact on Echo, but if I'm going to start bringing devices into my home that are essentially always on, I'm going to go with a company that has shown a culture of protecting their customers from intrusion.

Not Echo, not Nest...
 
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eyeseeyou

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No HomeKit, no dice.

I think there's lot more options for automation that aren't compatible with homekit which is why I purchased a dot. Missed opportunity for apple imo. The new appletv could've been the dot
 
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