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Alexa for kids? Amazon's newest device stirs up controversy

25 April 2018

Amazon is adding another variant of Echo to its Alexa-enabled speakers in India. As part of the launch offer, Amazon Echo Spot can be bought for 10,499, Rs 2,500 less than its MRP (Rs 12,999) for a limited period only. Once they hear the word "Alexa", they switch on, record a voice command and send it back to Amazon, where it is interpreted and sent back to the device.

One can use the Echo Spot with all the 15,000 "Skills" or functions the other Echo devices have through Alexa, the smart assistant. Amazon offers a Fire tablet for kids, and some parents already use smart speakers to play podcasts for a screen-free alternative for kids. But this time around, we're looking at kid-friendly version of the tiny smart speaker, which comes in a bunch of new colors and is supposed to be sturdier than the regular device so it can survive abuse from children. In fact, the presence of the display makes it all the more convenient for Echo Spot to actually see things. Purchase products immediately or add items easily to your shopping list or your shopping cart. Equipped with four microphones, the new Echo Spot complies with the second gen far-field technology for greater sensitivity. All these activities on Echo Spot including video calling can be controlled through Alexa.

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It is possible to establish connectivity with either external Bluetooth speakers or standard speaker via AUX port. And of course, users can even watch video trailers from Amazon Prime Video. While this is a good indicator that India seems to have an appetite for smart speakers, it is interesting that this launch comes weeks after rival Google Home's launch.

With this "Drop In feature", Amazon aims to recreate the feeling you get when your closest family or friends drop by for a visit or when you walk into another room to talk with someone in your family. The company claims that they are hands-free and fast. Alexa is the brain behind the Echo devices.

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Naturally, this set off alarms for publications and inside sources actually told Bloomberg that the company is hoping to start shipping these mobile Echoes by 2019.

Amazon is known for taking risks and getting into categories well ahead of its competitors (just look at the Amazon Echo), and the mega etailer could be looking to do that once again with robots for your home.

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Alexa for kids? Amazon's newest device stirs up controversy