Amazon today announced a new battery-powered version of its ubiquitous Echo speakers.
The snappily named Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition (which we'll henceforth referring to as EIPSSE because that's a mouthful) costs ₹5,999 (about £65/$85) and is an Indian exclusive.
EIPSSE packs a 4,800mAh battery, which Amazon reckons will last for 10 hours of continuous music playback, or 11 hours on standby. Adorning the side of the device is a small array of LEDs which show the battery's status.
According to some reports, EIPSSE also packs the same "hardware architecture" as the Echo Input — a device which, incidentally, doesn't include a built-in speaker. As the name implies, the Echo Input, which debuted last year, allows individuals to extend their existing "dumb" speakers with the Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.
Besides that, it's a fairly standard Amazon Echo device, capable of running all the usual skills and controlling your smart home devices.
This is the first portable Echo-branded device from Amazon, but it's not the first portable speaker running Amazon's Alexa assistant. Amazon brought out Bluetooth-enabled Amazon Tap in 2016, although it has since been discontinued. The Seattle-based bookseller also competes with third-party manufacturers on the Alexa-laden moveable loudbox front, the Fabriq Chorus, for example.
India is a huge market for Bezos's firm, and it has invested more than $5bn to unseat local rivals like local online retailer Flipkart, which is partially owned by big box retailer Walmart. It also recently announced support for Hindi within Alexa.
And while it's not clear how many Alexa devices are spread across the country, the EIPSSE will address perhaps the biggest pain point with the current Echo lineup — namely the lack of portability.
Amazon says it plans to release the EIPSSE in other markets, but hasn't made any definitive affirmations yet. When we find out for sure, we'll let you know. ®