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Amazon's new Dash Wand adds Alexa, is near-free on Prime

The voice-activated assistant and bar-code scanning gadget costs $20, but it also comes with a $20 credit.

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Maybe you don't need to go shopping with a magic wand. If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, though, the megaretailer is basically giving one away for free -- just because.

Amazon Dash launched in 2014, as an attempt to make shopping easy. It lets you scan the bar codes of products you already have, and adds them to Amazon's shopping app. The new Dash adds Alexa voice support to make orders, too.

But the potentially great thing about it is it's also, basically, an assistant. Amazon says it supports thousands of Alexa skills, and can be used for conversions, creating shopping lists, or maybe anything else. (Amazon does warn: "Dash Wand does not support playing music.") Maybe it's a supercheap, handheld, music-free Echo Dot, though I haven't used one yet.

It's available right now on Amazon Prime, and costs $20 in the US Amazon store. But it also comes with a $20 credit towards your next purchase, making it essentially free. (It also comes with a 90-day AmazonFresh grocery service trial.) 

Keep in mind, that $20 credit can only be used for purchases from or Amazon Digital Services, and can't be used on digital content, according to Amazon's fine print.