The company plans to introduce a condensed Echo speaker that’s around the size of a soda can and capable of running off a built-in battery pack.
The current iteration 9-inch tall speaker requires continuous connection to the mains in order to work. However, the new version, which the WSJ claims will be cheaper than the $180 original ,will apparently be capable of operating independently of the new docking accessory.
Amazon had insisted upon constant connection to the mains in order to maintain the always-listening “Hey Alexa” functionality, which allows Echo users to search for information or request music through voice commands.
To account for this need for battery preservation, voice controls will only be accessible by hitting the microphone button on top of the device, reportedly codenamed Fox.
The original Amazon Echo, with its built in Alexa assistant, was one of the surprise tech hits of 2015. Unlike Siri, Google Now and Cortana, Alexa became the first voice-activated personal assistant to earn its own stan alone device.
Amazon is continually adding to Alexa’s abilities, both through its own endeavours and through the APK that enables the integration of third-party services.
The device earned praise for its multi-directional mics that enabled commands to be picked up around the room and its decent speaker quality, which also enabled tunes to be streamed via Bluetooth.
Other than the infancy of the Alexa platform, the only real complaint was the inability to use the Echo on the go. This new version, expected within weeks according to the WSJ, will seemingly address that complaint.