Amazon has officially unveiled the "Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition", and it's one of the first Echo devices to be capable of running entirely on battery power. Earlier, most of the smart speakers available in the Amazon's Echo lineup or Google's Home or Nest series have to be plugged in at all times, keeping users away from enjoying a completely wireless less experience.
The snappily named Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition (which we'll henceforth referring to as EIPSSE because that's a mouthful) costs ₹5,999 (about £65/$85) and is an Indian exclusive. You can also use voice commands to play music from TuneIn radio, Gaana, and Amazon Music, increase and decrease volume and more.
"Portability has been one of the most requested features in India", Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa Devices, said.
Notably, Amazon thinks the portability of the device will bring Alexa closer to kids.
According to the company, the 10,000 mAh built-in rechargeable battery means you can listen to music for up to 12 hours from a single charge. The lack of a line-input jack and the inability to use it as a Bluetooth speaker without Wi-Fi completely rules out using the Echo Input Portable as something you might also use when out without a stable internet connection. "You want to be able to carry Alexa with you from room to room within your homes".
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As the name implies, the Echo Input, which debuted a year ago, allows individuals to extend their existing "dumb" speakers with the Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. "So we have designed something just for you".
To be clear, this new gadget is not the same as the existing Input, which was created to be a companion device for "dumb" speakers (it brings Alexa to non-Alexa devices, in other words).
If you're living in India, you don't need to worry about these third-party accessories.
It's priced at 5,999 Indian rupees, which works out at around $84 / £70 / AU$160 based on current conversion rates - although the pricing could be quite different when it launches in Western markets.
Priced at the affordable equivalent of around $85, the fairly intriguing device is scheduled to start shipping on December 18 in India, now fetching just 70 bucks or so (Rs. 4,999) when taking a pre-order discount into consideration.