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Amazon introduces Echo Auto in India: Customers can now use Alexa while driving

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 07, 2020 Published on January 07, 2020

Amazon has introduced Echo Auto, a smart speaker that is designed specifically for in-car usage, in India. The Echo Auto uses eight microphones and far-field technology to hear users even in noisy traffic conditions.

To use the Echo Auto, a small router-like gadget needs to be connected to the vehicle’s 12-V charging socket or USB port, and connected to the car’s music system. An Amazon account and the Alexa app will be needed.

Once installed, users can ask Alexa to play music, make calls and send messages to phone contacts, set reminders, read out Kindle books or audiobooks, get sports or news updates etc. The Echo Auto device will be available for ₹4,999.

The Echo Auto device connects to the car stereo system for audio playback using a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable or a Bluetooth connection. It connects to Alexa through the Alexa app on a smartphone, and uses an existing data plan to stream music, make a call or send messages to phone contacts.

“Customers in India tell us they want to take Alexa with them everywhere they go, and we’re delighted to offer them an easy way to add Alexa to the car they already own,” said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices India. He added that customers can listen to ad-free music or listen to audiobooks and make calls by using simple voice commands.

With its eight-microphone array, the Echo Auto enables customers to talk to Alexa over music, A/C and road noise. Users can stream ad-free music from Amazon Prime or access music from other providers such as Apple Music, JioSaavn, Gaana or Hungama Music or even just say “Alexa, play road trip songs.”

Echo Auto users can make hands-free calls to any contacts saved on their smartphone. Android phone users can also send text messages.

The Echo Auto connects to the phone and defaults to its mobile network for calls and text messages to contacts saved in the phone’s address book. It will use mobile data for Echo-to-Echo ‘Drop-in’ and making announcements on other Echo devices.

Echo Auto uses the default navigation app on the smartphone and its data plan to provide directions. To ask Alexa to navigate to home or work, go to ‘Your Locations’ in the Alexa app settings and add the addresses. To update or check the default navigation app, visit the Traffic section in Alexa App.

As with other Echo devices, one can use a selection of over 30,000 Alexa skills in English. Customers can ask Alexa for ESPN Cricinfo, Ted Talks, Impossible Bollywood Quiz or sports updates, listening to podcasts, and play games. Customers can also enjoy listening to books from Audible or Kindle when driving around, just by asking Alexa.

For privacy, one can use a mic on/ off button that electronically disconnects the microphones. Customers have control over their voice recordings — with the ability to view, hear and delete utterances at Alexa Privacy Settings or in the Alexa app, at any time.

The new Echo Auto is available for pre-order today at ₹4,999 on www.amazon.in/EchoAuto and select retail outlets. It will start shipping from January 15.

Published on January 07, 2020
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