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A smaller, cheaper Amazon Echo speaker could be coming soon

A smaller, cheaper Amazon Echo speaker could be coming soon


But this one isn't always listening

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Amazon's Echo was everywhere at CES 2016, and coming out of another huge holiday shopping season, the company has a new plan to get it in more consumer homes: go smaller and cheaper. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is nearing the announcement of a second Echo model. How much smaller than the original, you asks? The Journal says this new device "is designed to fit comfortably in the palm of a user’s hand, like a beer can." The report also likens it to a vertical-standing version of the Beats Pill speaker. A price hasn't yet been disclosed, with the current model retailing for $179.99.

It's sized 'like a beer can'

Unfortunately, though, the smaller size comes with one tradeoff; unlike the current Echo, the tiny version won't always be listening for your "Alexa" commands and questions. Instead, users will need to press a button to activate the voice recognition. At the very least, hopefully this can also be accomplished using your smartphone (or a bundled remote) from anywhere in the room. In recent weeks, Amazon has built out the abilities of its personal assistant, adding support for new apps like Yelp and even workout activities.

On the plus side, this Echo won't need to be plugged into the wall 24/7 like the original and will be charged with a docking station, according to the Journal. We've reached out to Amazon for comment on the rumor. In typical fashion, the company hasn't released sales data for the Echo, but it holds a 4.5-star review average among customers and currently shows as out of stock through late January.