Amazon is said to be working on a smaller and cheaper version of its voice-activated Echo speaker, which could be released in “the coming weeks.” No specific launch date has been provided and it’s said that it could cost less than $180, which is what the current version is priced at.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the new device is code-named Fox and will be the size of a beer can, which will likely bring to mind comparisons to a Jawbone Jambox, Apple’s Beats Pill portable speaker, and others. Reports also state that the new Echo version can be charged on a docking station and will respond to voice commands when a button is pushed, removing the always-listening mode that rapidly drains the battery.
Singapore-based Flextronics International has been tapped to build Fox.
With this release, it seems that the public may see something with Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant software. Akin to Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, it’s currently only available on the Amazon Echo, constraining it to the home. But by making it more portable, people can take her with them, not only for the home, but also in their office, car, and even on vacation — possibly tapping it to streamline the connected parts of wherever they are.
And manufacturers aren’t shying away from Alexa — just look at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. While the online retailer didn’t have a physical presence there, its impact was felt, with several third-parties announcing integrations with Amazon’s personal assistant software. Already, TrackR, Ford, and Invoxia announced moves to pair their products with Alexa. They’re building on the developer SDK released by the company last summer.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update if we hear back.