Amazon has upgraded its Echo Dot, its smaller-sized Alexa device, giving it the spherical design and fabric covering of the new, larger-sized Echo. The Kids Edition Dots got similar treatment but instead of a bright candy cane design, these little guys now have Panda and Tiger faces and can even teach your wee ones to read.
The new dots have a forward-firing 1.6-inch speaker and retail for just $79 if you want a grey or black ball. The price goes up to $99 if you want the Amazon Echo Dot with a small glowing clock to the front of the device or if you want the kid’s version painted like an Amazon.
The new Kids’ Dots should make it harder for kids to find inappropriate stuff via Alexa by recognising when kids are interacting with the speakers and responding with only kid-friendly content. Hopefully. (This version does not appear to be available in Australia.)
“Once enabled, Alexa will automatically shift to the Kids Alexa experience whenever she recognises your child’s voice — on any device in the household — and provide kid-friendly responses, games, skills, music, and more. If you’re an Amazon Kids+ customer, all of your kids’ favourite premium skills and Audible books will be available,” wrote Amazon in its liveblog today. “Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, giving families access to thousands of hours of kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational skills.”
Parents obviously have to enable these features before these little pandas can play the Frozen 2 soundtrack fifty times straight.
What’s more, the Kid version of the Dot offers animal-themed alarms and a new feature called Reading Sidekick will take turns reading with your kids as they work through a book. It sounds pretty wild and it will work with “hundreds of children’s books.”
“Soon, Alexa will take turns reading from a supported book with the child and listen for quality of reading, offering encouragement when the child is reading well and support when the child struggles,” Amazon wrote.
The “adult” Dots come in three colours: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue.
Obviously, the question remains whether or not we want a listening device in our kids’ rooms. With phones and fridges and everything else listening in one little Tiger Dot won’t hurt…right?
The new round Dot are available for pre-order now.