As the first Echo device for your car, the Echo Auto seems to be the most highly anticipated Echo device in a while, according to customer discussions across the web. The device was announced in September and Amazon has been accepting invitation requests from customers to be among the first to buy the device, but recent changes to the Echo Auto’s product page make it seem like nobody is going to be able to purchase it until next year.
The Echo Auto product page used to say “This product will be available by invitation only later this year” next to the invitation request button. The text has now been updated to simply say “This product is available by invitation only,” which seems to indicate that invitations will not be going out this year as originally promised.
Other changes made to the product page relate to Echo Auto compatibility with smartphones and apps. The page used to say that “Alexa connects to supported apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze on your phone.” Now the page says that it connects to Google Maps and that “Apple Maps and Waze support will be coming in 2019.” It’s likely that this minor text change means that the Echo Auto will initially only be able to start navigation through Google Maps.
Near the bottom of the page, Amazon has also now added a link to a list of Android phones that are not compatible with the Echo Auto. The list mostly consists of older devices from manufacturers like HTC, Huawei, and Alcatel, but it’s certainly worth checking to see if your phone is on, or gets added to, the list when invitations start going out.
Amazon just today announced that Alexa Skill developers will now be able to request permission to access a customer’s location, which is a necessary ability for an on-the-go device like the Echo Auto. Interestingly, the announcement says that “location services are supported on the Alexa app and Echo Auto at launch, and will expand to other devices in the future.” This could mean that a boom of automotive Alexa devices are on the horizon.