Amazon Echo Could Be Getting an Unplugged Mini-Me

The Echo is part speaker, part personal assistant.

January 12, 2016, 1:49 PM
Amazon Echo speaker is a new category of device designed around your voice.
Amazon Echo speaker is a new category of device designed around your voice.
Business Wire/Amazon

— -- Amazon's tremendously popular Echo, which is a hybrid between a speaker and a personal assistant, may be getting a smaller, more portable sibling, according to a report this week.

While the current tube-shaped Echo is perfect for keeping in the living room corner or plugged in on a counter, the Wall Street Journal reports Amazon is set to release a slimmed down version of the speaker that will ditch the power cord.

An Amazon representative told ABC News today that "as a matter of company policy we don’t comment on rumors and speculation."

Announced without fanfare in November 2014, the Echo has been a surprise hit for Amazon. The device is capable of hearing voice commands from across a crowded room due to seven microphones that can recognize voices coming from any direction. Enhanced noise cancellation lets the device still do its job as a speaker while listening like a good personal assistant would.

Using the "wake word" Alexa, users can ask their speaker everything from the weather to playing their favorite song or telling a joke. Echo can even be set up to control the smart devices in a user's home, allowing them to turn on their lights with a simple prompt.

Amazon has also extended its Alexa technology into other products with its $100 million Alexa Fund, which is set up to encourage developers to create new experiences based around the human voice.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, Amazon and Ford announced a partnership to put Alexa technology into Ford's SYNC in-car technology platform, allowing drivers to start, stop, open and unlock their cars, along with a host of other possibilities. No immediate timeline was given for the integration.

A new update this week also shows how Echo can entertain users and keep boredom at bay. Users who have the latest update can get a game started by saying, "Alexa, start Jeopardy."

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