Home > Accessories > Amazon Unveil Battery Powered Alexa

 Taking after the recently launched Echo Studio, Amazon has unveiled a portable battery-powered version of its smart speaker featuring 360-degree and Alexa on the go, exclusive to India at launch.

The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition will launch in India exclusively on 18 December at an introductory price of roughly AU$100, with the regular price set at ~$122.

There is no word yet whether this new portable Alexa smart speaker will be made available outside of India, though considering the launch announcement from the Amazon India News Twitter account, we reckon India is the testing ground for a new smart speaker range. 

The Echo Input Portable smart speaker replaces the first model released in January this year, adding a 4,800mAh rechargeable battery that will net you 10 hours of audio playback with 11 hours of stand-by-life.

Power levels are monitored by tapping the power button, which will reveal the four front-facing LEDs.

Much like the Amazon Echo Studio, the Input Portable outputs 360-degree audio and is connected via Bluetooth or over the Amazon Alexa companion app.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has tried its luck at portable speakers, first releasing the Amazon Tap to western markets in 2016, but failed to catch on as it required a button to activate Alexa.

With Bose, Sonos and JBL all competing for supremacy in the portable smart speaker market, it seems only natural for Amazon to make its way into the scene. 

How Amazon attempts to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack may come down its accessibility features for those who need it most.

According to Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa Devices at Amazon the Indian market wanted a portable version of their Echo Devices, thus inspiring the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker.

Looking a little deeper though reveals a possible accessibility benefit from the portable Alexa powered speaker with Dr Sam Taraporevala, Director, Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) using an Echo Dot and Echo Plus to do chores more easily around the house.

In a blog post on About Amazon India, a number of avid Alexa users with disabilities shared stories about their use case for the smart speakers.

Alexa is a helpful accessibility tool for disabled users, as it the smart speakers can ‘address several challenges for people who can’t move their hands,’ according to Shishir Bhatnagar, a quadriplegic Nautical Consultant.

Thanks to the inbuilt accessibility features of the Amazon Alexa platform, Echo devices can function differently for a variety of different use cases.

There are a variety of different gestures for navigation, as well as Vision, Hearing and Speech settings, like Tap to Alexa, which allows users to interact with the voice assistant without their voice.

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