Interested in Amazon’s voice-controlled Echo speaker, but can’t justify the $180 price tag? Good news — a more affordable version may be arriving soon.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is gearing up to release a smaller, more portable version of the Echo, code named “Fox,” in the coming weeks. Measuring 9.25 inches tall, the original Echo is about the size of a can of Pringles while Fox is “designed to fit comfortably in the palm of a user’s hand, like a beer can,” the paper says. “It calls to mind Apple’s popular Beats Pill portable speaker, though Amazon’s version rests vertically on a surface.”
Just don’t expect Fox to offer all the bells and whistles of the larger Echo. The original, for instance, can listen for a wake word, so as soon as you say “Alexa,” the light turns on and it springs into action. Fox, on the other hand, only responds to voice commands after you push a button, “a necessary compromise to preserve battery life,” according to the report.
Amazon has not released sales figures for the Echo, but the company in December said it peddled three times as many of its tech gadgets this past Black Friday weekend compared to the year before, thanks in part to newcomers like the Echo and its Fire tablet$49.99 at Amazon. Now, the company is hoping to attract even more buyers — and gain a bigger foothold in the home-automation device market — with Fox.
Amazon declined to comment when contacted by PCMag.com on Tuesday.
First released in November 2014, Echo$179.99 at Amazon can play music, tell you the news and weather, create to-do lists, set a timer and alarms, turn off the lights, and even tell jokes. For instance, you could say “Alexa,” followed by “play rock music” and it will queue up the jams. Or ask, “Alexa, how tall is Mount Everest?”