Amazon has announced the Echo Auto as their first device to add Alexa to your car. It’s a relatively tiny device that sits on your dash and provides hands-free Alexa capabilities through its array of 8 microphones. Amazon is adding in a lot of new car-specific capabilities to Alexa, like navigation directions that appear on your phone through Waze and Apple Maps integration, so they’re not quite ready to sell the Echo Auto to everyone. That’s why it’s currently only available by invite. It will be $49.99 when it’s released, but those who receive an invite to purchase will pay only $24.99 during the introductory period.
The Echo Auto uses your smartphone’s data connection to relay voice commands to Alexa. Amazon says it is “ready in seconds” but it will need to pair with your phone every time you get in the car for it to work.
The device comes with a dash mount so that it can be positioned in your car where you can see the LED light on the front and where it can hear your commands. It’s powered by an included 12V car power adapter that connects to the device via micro-USB. You’ll probably also be able to power it through a USB port that is built into your car, assuming the port provides enough juice.
The Echo Auto connects to your cars stereo through Bluetooth or through a 3.5mm audio jack. It does not have its own speaker, like an Echo Dot, but it does have a mute and action button to manually call up Alexa.
The device will use your phones GPS signal to determine your location and provide answers to location-based questions, like asking when the nearest coffee shop opens. It is also able to relay navigation requests to apps such as Waze and Apple Maps on your phone.
Bringing Alexa inside your car is new territory for Amazon, so they’re only making the Echo Auto available by invitation for the time being. Those willing to try the new device will receive a steep 50% discount off of the device’s regular $49.99 retail price and pay only $24.99. If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive an invitation.