In the last years, it is clear that Amazon has decided to expand its presence beyond only e-commerce. Indeed, since its announcement in 2014, Amazon has been devoting considerable efforts to the development of Amazon Echo, a brand of smart speakers better known by costumers as Alexa.
Today, we are going to talk about Amazon Echo auto, which is one of the recent developments of this wonderful brand of products.
Although Amazon Echo project was at first conceived to be just a smart speaker, intended to function as a virtual assistant for costumers, after its launching into the market, the leaders of the program understood the importance of upgrading Alexa to a complete smart home controlling center type device. Hence, upgrading Alexa meant an important success for the company, but the development of virtual assistant systems hasn´t stopped there.
After the first announcement in September last year, finally Amazon Echo Auto has been launched but by “invite-only”, at an incredibly low cost of just 25$.
Echo Auto will make you enjoy the benefits and features of Alexa, but out of home, when you are behind the steering wheel.
“After the first announcement in September last year, finally Amazon Echo Auto has been launched but by “invite-only”, at an incredibly low cost of just 25$.”
Small and light
This device is very lightweight, weighing impressively only 45 grams –which is less than the weight of a snicker bar-, considering all the features that is capable to perform. Also, it is considerably small, measuring only 8.5 x 4.7 x 13.28 cm in total. So, you can take it with you once you stop the car.
General device features
Amazon Echo Auto allows us to play our favorite music from a variety of platforms, like Amazon Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others, as well as reading audiobooks of your preference, listening to podcasts or the news.
Additionally, Alexa Echo Auto can check your daily schedule and also reminds you about important events or meetings that you need to attend to.
If you have some pending purchases or are on your way to the supermarket, or to any other kind of shopping, Alexa can help you to add new items to your shopping list while you driving your car.
“Amazon Echo Auto allows us to play our favorite music from a variety of platforms, like Amazon Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others, as well as reading audiobooks of your preference, listening to podcasts or the news.”
Similarly to a GPS device, but with more advanced features, Echo Auto can help you to locate the nearest subway or any other place that we need or want to go.
The procedure is very simple. You will have to start saying: “Alexa, get directions to the nearest gas station” -or to any other destination of course-, and then Alexa will respond by voice with the three nearest possible choices.
Next, you will need to ask once again to select the choice you have made, and after that, Alexa will ask you to open your smartphone and review the mapping with the correspondent destination.
Once you have opened the mapping, you can click on the microphone option on your smartphone, so Alexa will read the direction, and you will be able to hear it through the car speakers.
However, one thing that must be noted is that, if you are driving at high speed along the highway, obviously you will need to pull over, at least briefly, to open the application in your smartphone.
The same process will need to be repeated to ask how to get to any other place, like, for instance, a restaurant, a hospital, and so on. The direction feature works with several applications, like Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze.
Creating routines based on locations
An additional and very important feature of Echo Auto is the stablishing of daily routines based on locations, like checking your emails while driving to work each morning, or listening to your preferred audiobook when returning home from work in the evenings. Moreover, a routine could be a combination of several different tasks being performed together.
In fact, Alexa is able to execute several tasks at the same time, but to achieve this you will need to design a routine, which means to set up a set of tasks that Alexa must carry out regularly at the same time, that way you will need only to give one command in order to Alexa start performing them. If you want routines to be performed in a given time and without needing an activation command, you can also configure your routine to start automatically.
Designed to work despite noise
Amazon Echo auto comes with eight microphones included, which allows the device to listen to the Alexa activation command, regardless if other sounds are interfering in or around the car, like music, passenger conversations, air conditioning sound or noises from outside the car.
Apart from the previous features about which we have already spoken, we want to underline another important feature of Echo Auto system, which is the capability of linking with your Amazon home automation system, what means that you can give commands to open your garage door or your house door, or any other home automation related action, from the seat of your car, using Amazon Echo Auto.
“you can give commands to open your garage door or your house door, or any other home automation related action, from the seat of your car, using Amazon Echo Auto.”
An important question: You will need to use your smartphone´s data plan
However, there is a point that should be kept in mind about Echo Auto, which is the internet connection. Since it is a device conceived to function on the road, it is not possible to have it connected to a Wi-Fi network permanently.
Therefore you will need to have it connected to the internet through your smartphone, using its data plan, but that could mean a high cost on your monthly cell phone bill, so you have to be careful with that.
“you will need to have it connected to the internet through your smartphone, using its data plan, but that could mean a high cost on your monthly cell phone bill, so you have to be careful with that”
Gravity and Amazon Echo Auto
Notwithstanding the previous point, Echo Auto has a lot of great features that undoubtedly will make this device one preferred by drivers in the next future. In that spirit, Gravity is currently working on the developing of pieces and parts for this extraordinary device. We hope to have great success in this important task.