It’s all about home automation in Amazon’s surprise event today, but that doesn’t mean your automobile is left out. Amazon’s new Echo Auto is basically a smart speaker for your car integrated with Alexa.
The Echo Auto looks like a miniature cassette tape but that’s just on the outside. On the inside, the Echo Auto is a powerful speaker that sits on the dash of your car with an array of 8 microphones waiting for you to say the catchphrase “Alexa” to perform tasks based on commands. Since you would visit or travel to multiple places in your car, the Echo Auto can perform location-based tasks or routines which is impressive.
Since Alexa is a cloud-based service, the Echo Auto needs to be connected to the internet at all times and hence uses your phone’s cellular data network over Bluetooth connectivity to make this happen. However, if you’re in an area or region with poor network coverage, this can be a downside.
Coming back to location-based routines, you can add something that Amazon is calling “triggers” which will basically, you guessed it right, trigger certain pre-configured settings or task for specific locations. For example, if you have an Echo device set up at home and Echo Auto senses you’re reaching home, it can be used to trigger reminders or to-do lists or play relaxing music.
You can also use this Echo Auto for things like adding stuff to your shopping list, or ask it for directions to the nearest Starbucks or till what time it will be open, play an audiobook for you, call someone from your family or request navigation which will then pop up on your phone.
The Echo Auto will start shipping to invitees later this year for a price of $24.99 and if you do not have an invite, you will have to shell out double the amount, which is $49.99 in order to get one for yourself. The Echo Auto, however, will not make its way into the Indian market anytime soon.