Alexa voice commands can now be spoken into Amazon's smaller Echo Dot

Device follows the Echo tower that was introduced in late 2014

amazon echo dot slate

Amazon on Thursday announced a sleek new hockey-puck shaped, Alexa voice-controlled device called Echo Dot, a smaller $89.99 version of the larger, more expensive Echo tower.

The tower was first introduced in November 2014.

Both the Echo and the Echo Dot are promoted as being able to easily control lights, music and other functions in a home or small office via Alexa voice commands.

Many reviewers have described the versatility of Alexa commands, but have noted it can take multiple tries to get Alexa to understand what a user wants — at least at first. Cloud-based Alexa and Dot are “always getting smarter and adding new features and skills,” according to a description on the Amazon Web site.

amazon echo dot Amazon

An opened up view of the Echo Dot.

Echo Dot has a small built-in speaker, but can be connected to a larger home stereo system via Bluetooth or an audio cable. Its chief advantage seems to be its size, at just 3.3-in. in diameter and 1.5-in. tall. That means it can easily sit bedside as an alarm clock or work in other spaces as a voice controlled assistant to turn on home devices.

It comes with an audio cable, power adapter and USB charging cable. Amazon said it can be used to voice command smart devices from WeMo, Phillips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, ecobee and others.

Amazon said Dot is available in limited quantities for Prime members only, ordered through Alexa Voice Shopping over an Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV by saying, “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.”

Amazon also announced Amazon Tap, a $130 Alexa-enabled Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker that features dual stereo. Users must tap a microphone button to make Alexa commands.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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