It has always been a little strange that the Echo was stationary. If Cortana and Siri can zoom around in our mobile devices, why do we always have to shout over at Alexa? That power cord is nothing more than a hindrance…which is why it looks like Amazon is ditching it.
For now this is unconfirmed by Amazon, but some very well-established rumors indicate that Amazon will be release portable versions of the Echo within the coming weeks. We don’t know much about the new version yet, but it’s probably that the portable Echo will be both smaller and cheaper than its older brother.
Will it use batteries? Will it recharge on a stand? Will is use the same listening and voice-recognition technology? Well, Amazon likes to keep its cards close but we do have a few clues: Spoilers from inside sources have reported that the device is codenamed “Fox,” is about the size of a beer can, and will have a docking station to charge with.
Perhaps most interesting, reports also say that the porta-Echo won’t always be listening for its “Alexa” name like the original version. Rather, it will have a button you need to push before you give it voice commands – which honestly seems to ruin pretty much everything about giving Echo voice commands, turning it into just another Siri clone. Here’s hoping for an always-listening mode that you can at least turn on and off if you don’t care about saving battery power.
It’s clear to see why Amazon would make such a move. Echo can do nearly anything, from answering esoteric questions to controlling your smart home appliances to – and this is a big one – helping you order Amazon products. But as it is now, you have to leave it in one place and shout over at it if you aren’t close by (plus problems caused by interference). Having multiple Echoes in a house isn’t feasible for most people, so a portable version makes more sense.
What do you think? Would you mind a movable Echo if you had to push its buttons every time you wanted to talk? Or do you think the old Echo is a better product? Check out our smart home automation reviews for more information on the latest listening devices.