There’s definitely no shortage of Amazon Echo speaker options out there, but there is one main feature that consumers have been requesting for quite some time now, and that’s portability.
In a move that flew somewhat under the radar, Amazon dropped the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition, exclusively for India. The smart speaker blends right in with its siblings with its black fabric design, LED lights, button controls, and 360-degree sound. The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition actually shares the same “hardware architecture” as the Echo Input, which launched last year. It also provides access to 30,000 Alexa skills and is compatible with a variety of home devices.
A single charge of the 4800mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of music playback (11 hours of standby battery time), but Amazon recommends keeping the device plugged in (like a regular Echo) when you don’t need to carry it around.
“Portability has been one of the most requested features in India,” VP of Alexa Devices, Miriam Daniel, told TechCrunch. “You want to be able to carry Alexa with you from room to room within your homes. So we have designed something just for you.”
Although Amazon doesn’t currently offer any battery-powered Echo speakers in the West, the concept isn’t entirely new. In 2016, the company released the Amazon Tap, but it ended up being a total flop. Users had to push a button to access Alexa, which totally defeated the purpose of a smart speaker. The speaker was discontinued last year, and one can only hope Amazon took it as a learning experience for this next go-around.
The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition can be ordered on Amazon today for an introductory price of 4,999 rupees (70 USD) with an estimated shipping date of December 18th. After that, the speaker will run 5,999 rupees (84 USD). According to TechCrunch, Amazon has ambitions to bring the speaker to other parts of the world, but they gave no indication as to where or when.