All about Alexa

Amazon had a slew of Alexa announcements to share this morning at the mega-retailer's UX Lab in San Francisco. That includes multiple brand-new devices and a host of important new product integrations.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Amazon Echo Dot

First up: the $90 Amazon Echo Dot. It's basically the top slice of the Amazon Echo smart speaker, where the far-field microphones are located. Like the Echo, the Echo Dot uses those microphones to listen for your commands.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

A smart speaker sans speaker

Unlike the Echo, the Echo Dot doesn't include a full-size speaker capable of filling a room with audio.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Smarten up your audio setup

Instead, you'll be able to hook it up to your own audio setup via the line-out jack or via Bluetooth, and in the process give your audio an Alexa-powered voice control upgrade.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Amazon Tap

New gadget No. 2 is the Amazon Tap. It's a smaller, more portable version of the Amazon Echo. And at a price of $130, it's 50 bucks more affordable, too.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Charging cradle

The Amazon Tap is battery-powered. When it needs a recharge, just pop it into the included charging cradle.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Battery life

Amazon tells us that the Tap offers up to 9 hours of audio playback on a single charge, or a standby time of up to three weeks. The tradeoff is that it isn't always listening for your command, like the Echo. Instead, you'll need to press that microphone button in order to activate it.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Sound check

Amazon Devices Senior Vice President Dave Limp gave us a quick demo of the Tap's sound quality. To my ear, it sounded just as good as the Echo.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET


Amazon will also be selling cases for the Tap, letting you add a touch of color to the device.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET

New thermostat controls

Along with the new devices, Amazon announced a new set of developer tools for the makers of third-party thermostats. They'll help developers bring more connected thermostats under Alexa's control -- including the popular Nest Learning Thermostat.

Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

A busy month

All of it -- the new devices, the Nest integration -- will be arriving in the Alexa ecosystem by the end of March.

Photo by: James Martin/CNET


The most beautiful phone ever has one wildly annoying issue

The Samsung Galaxy S8's fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.

Hot Products