Amazon has developed a new intuitive smart speaker to succeed the Echo Dot speaker that was unveiled in March 2016. This new device is labeled as the second-generation Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker, so named because it is designed as the successor of the first Echo dot speaker, which is now known as the first-generation Amazon Echo Dot. The second-generation Echo dot comes in two colors: white and black. The All-New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black smart speaker is a mini-sized, hands-free, and voice-controlled device which can play music, control the smart devices in your home, set alarms, and read the news; besides providing voice-activated virtual assistant services through Alexa.
- The All-New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black is a smaller, yet powerful version of the original Amazon Echo. It is smaller than its predecessor because it lacks the volume control ring that the original Echo Dot had, and the second-generation Echo Dot uses two volume buttons to adjust the volume. It still retains the plug-and-play simplicity which has made it popular.
- It is designed to deliver quality sounds, as well as filter background noise so as to hear your voice commands. The deficiencies in its internal speaker system are overcome by its incorporation of an audio-out port and support for Bluetooth connectivity.
- It has voice-activated smart features, which allow you to issue commands to Alexa. Alexa is a voice-activated, cloud-connected virtual assistant software developed by Amazon. Alexa is supported by an array of inbuilt microphones which can capture sounds, including your voice. Therefore, when you command Alexa, for instance, to wake up, your voice command is captured by the microphone which then relays it to servers, which processes the command and figure out what has been asked. Thereafter, the servers issue appropriate instructions to Alexa on how it should respond to your command, in this instance, it turns on. This entire process lasts for only one second, and this attests to the efficiency of communication between Alexa and the cloud network of servers maintained by Amazon.
- Alexa is central to the operations of the All-New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black. Alexa allows you to stream music from online music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Prime Music; as well as stream podcasts from TuneIn and iHeartRadio. Moreover, Alexa can read the news, set kitchen timers, set alarms, and even tell jokes. You can increase the functionality of Alexa by adding compatible third-party apps to its library. These third-party apps are called skills, and not only increase the scope of app services, but they also make Alexa smarter.
- The key technical details of the All-New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black are summarized hereafter. It is a lightweight and compact cylindrical device that weighs 163 grams and has a diameter of 84mm and its height is 32mm. It is encased inside a glossy black plastic case.
- It has dual-band Wi-Fi which supports both 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz networks. However, the Wi-Fi support does not extend to peer-to-peer or ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks.
- Its audio distribution profile has advanced features which support audio streaming from mobile phones; and can also allow the Echo Dot to stream audio through Bluetooth speakers. In either instance, the device (mobile phone or Bluetooth speaker) must be connected to the Echo Dot, via a Bluetooth connection which is supported by the Bluetooth connectivity feature of the Echo Dot. This Bluetooth connectivity feature also supports the audio-visual remote control (AVRC) profile which operates as the voice controls that relays command from connected mobile devices, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and iPads. Nonetheless, this hands-free voice control feature is incompatible with Mac OS X and also does not support PIN-enabled Bluetooth speakers.
- The All-New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black has an inbuilt speaker and also features a 3.5mm stereo audio output port that allows you to connect it to external speakers. However, the Echo Dot is not shipped with its audio cable, and you, therefore, need to find the right audio cable if you intend to connect it to your external speakers.
- Its Alexa app can be accessed using a web browser, and is also compatible with Android, iOS, and Fire OS; and hence the Echo Dot supports devices running on these platforms. Even so, some skills in the Alexa app require you to either subscribe to them or purchase them, for you to access their full functionalities.
- This Echo Dot is shipped alongside its 9-watts power adapter, a micro-USB cable, and an all-useful quick start manual.
The All New Echo Dot(2nd Generation)-Black is a budget-friendly device that comes with a limited warranty whose validity lasts for 90 days. There is also an option for choosing an extended warranty for 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months. The warranty is only valid if the Echo Dot is purchased from authorized dealers or retailers.
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