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Amazon’s Echo Input adds Alexa to any speaker

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Amazon is introducing a small new device that you can plug into any existing speaker to turn it into an Echo. It’s called the Echo Input, and it includes far-field microphones on it just like a normal Echo would. But instead of including its own speaker, it’s supposed to plug into or pair with another speaker, so that Alexa gets added to an audio setup that’s already in your home.

The device will sell for $34.99 and launch later this year in the US, UK, and Germany. Amazon also says it’ll be bundled with some third-party speakers, including Bose, allowing customers to turn them into smart speakers straight out of the box.

This product is Amazon’s answer to Google’s Chromecast Audio, a $35 dongle that you can plug into another speaker in order to stream music to it. The Echo Input has a huge advantage: it also includes microphones, whereas the Chromecast Audio doesn’t. So Google’s product doesn’t give you a voice assistant, too.

Photo: Dieter Bohn / The Verge