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Amazon launches portable Echo speaker

Amazon has announced yet another addition to the Echo speaker family, now numbering 12 devices. The new Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker, to cut a short name long, is about the size of the Echo Dot, but can be unplugged and used while being powered by its built-in battery.

Amazon has launched the new portable speaker only in India to begin with, and the device has been designed based on customer feedback and demand from India in particular. “Customers in India love Alexa, and told us that they wanted a hands-free experience that could move from room-to-room,” said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices India. “This was the inspiration behind Echo Input Portable, and we cannot wait to see how our Indian customers enjoy the flexibility of this portable smart speaker in their homes.”

The Echo Portable is in the same category as the Echo Dot, for a time the most popular of the line-up. Its shape is not as flat and squat as the Dot, but a little bit taller and takes up less of a footprint, despite being a fraction heavier because of its battery. The idea with this device is to extend Alexa’s capability as and when needed, without it being fixed and tethered to one spot. A child may want to grab it and take it to the bedroom for some homework assistance; anyone wanting to do a bit of relaxed cooking could cart it off to the kitchen for background music or to hear a recipe. Being easy to carry, the portable Alexa speaker should be good for those who want to move it from room to room.

The 4,800mAh battery on this device lasts about 10 hours of music playing, after which it must be plugged in for a recharge. It can be used either plugged in or on battery, based on the user’s needs. The device shows the battery status though there is no voice prompt to connect to power, perhaps because this would be troublesome if prompts repeat when no one is around.

Like the Echo Dot, the new portable speaker has a sound louder than one would expect for its size. It works more than adequately for background and hum-along style music, leaving those who need much richer and fuller music quality to use something else — or connect to a bigger available speaker, which can be done via Bluetooth and as part of a grouping.

The new speaker uses Alexa’s entire bouquet of features and skills, including music, information and facts, news, jokes, stories, cricket scores, etc, including the payment of bills via voice command via Amazon Pay. The speaker also controls smart home devices such as lights, air purifiers, TVs, security cameras and anything else brought into the ambit using smart plugs.

The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker will be available for an introductory price of Rs 4,999 and will ship later this month.

Source: The Hindu