Bottom line: Amazon's press photos show the Echo Auto positioned on the dashboard and mounted on a holster attached to an air vent. Its design is kind of chunky (it reminds me of a portable battery charger); will those who care about in-vehicle aesthetics want this populating their otherwise tidy interior?
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is coming to automobiles, but not through one of the previously announced high-profile partners like Audi, BMW or Lexus. On Thursday as part of Amazon’s mass product unveiling, the company announced Echo Auto – a dongle that adds Echo functionality to your vehicle.
The device is powered through your ride’s 12v power outlet or via USB and connects to your stereo using a 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth. It works in conjunction with the Alexa app on your smartphone (no separate phone plan needed) to facilitate a range of functions including traffic updates, calling capabilities, music playback and more.
You can even set routines that let you turn on your home’s lights when pulling into the driveway.
Echo Auto features an eight-microphone array that Amazon says is designed specifically for in-car acoustics. Thanks to its powerful speech recognition technology, Alexa is able to hear you over music, car noises like the A/C and outside road noises.
Amazon Echo Auto is being offered to early adopters through an invitation system (you can request an invite on the product page) and will be made available later this year. Early adopters can score the device for $24.99, half off the eventual $49.99 asking price.