Amazon designed the portable Echo speaker “exclusively” for India, TechCrunch reports, although it’s always possible the new Echo could make its way to worldwide markets.
The fabric-covered Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker looks like a shorter version of the Echo smart speakerRemove non-product link (or a taller version of the Echo Dot), complete with embedded volume and power buttons on the side and mic mute and “action” buttons on top.
The 4,800mAh battery in the new speaker is good for about 10 hours of music playback or 11 hours of standby time, according to Amazon. That’s not a lot of standby time, and indeed, Amazon recommends that you leave the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker plugged in whenever possible.
Four LED indicators above the power button let you know how much battery life is left, and you can charge the battery using the included microUSB power adapter.
Naturally, Alexa is on board, along with her tens of thousands of skills and her ability to control your smart home devices.
The speaker can also can stream music from Amazon Music and Apple Music, as well as such Indian music streaming services as JioSaavn and Gaana.
If the idea of a battery-powered Echo speaker sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of the Echo Tap, the portable Echo speaker that Amazon first launched back in 2016.
Unlike the new Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker, the Echo Tap required pushing a button before you could talk to Alexa, an annoying restriction that we dinged in our initial review.
A firmware update in 2017 removed the need to tap the Tap before chatting with Alexa, but it was too little, too late. Amazon discontinued the Echo Tap last year.
The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker also brings to mind the Echo InputRemove non-product link, a hockey puck-shaped device that lets you add Alexa to any “dumb” speaker with Bluetooth connectivity or a 3.5mm audio jack.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.