If you thought Amazon was done releasing new devices into its Echo smart speaker line-up, think again. Amazon has officially unveiled the "Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition," and it's one of the first Echo devices to be capable of running entirely on battery power.
To be clear, this new gadget is not the same as the existing Input, which was designed to be a companion device for "dumb" speakers (it brings Alexa to non-Alexa devices, in other words). Instead, the Input Portable is a fully-fledged, standalone Echo product, complete with its own microphone and speakers.
With that disclaimer out of the way, the Input Portable isn't too outlandish in terms of design. It's short, fat, and it has a pretty standard fabric cover, which is common among modern smart speakers (and Echo gadgets in particular). However, unlike some of its similar-looking cousins, the Portable has a dedicated power button on the side; flanked by two volume controls. Given the device's wireless nature, this will certainly be a handy inclusion for anyone that wishes to preserve its battery life.
#JustLaunched— Amazon India News (@AmazonNews_IN) December 4, 2019
Feedback from our Indian customers that they wanted to carry around their Echo devices was the inspiration behind the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker, says Miriam Daniel (VP, Alexa Devices, @amazon) #JustAsk @AmazonEchoIndia pic.twitter.com/4ckxZapaXg
Speaking of battery life, the Input Portable's included power pack has a capacity of 4800 mAh, which can allegedly provide up to 10 hours of nonstop music playback on a single charge. That number only goes up to 11 hours when the gadget is in standby mode, so Amazon recommends keeping it plugged in (or at least switched off) when you aren't actively using it.
It's unclear what sort of speaker hardware the Input Portable is packing under the hood, but it probably isn't anything too impressive. Coming in at the equivalent of 5,000 Indian rupees (roughly $70), it looks to be a sort of middle ground between the 3rd-gen Echo (normally $100) and the budget-oriented Echo Dot, which is typically priced at $50.
If the concept of a battery-powered Echo sounds appealing to you, we have some unfortunate news: as you might have gathered already, it is an Amazon India-exclusive product for now. We're not sure when or if the device will launch in other markets, but we'll be reaching out to Amazon for clarification.
In the meantime, Indian citizens can pre-order the Echo Input Portable right now ahead of its December 18 launch.