Amazon Debuts New Echo Dot Kids
Amazon revealed an updated version of the Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker today. The new device, which will start shipping later this month, is the latest of the next-gen Alexa-enabled devices Amazon has been rolling out since the first Echo Dot Kids Edition came out a little over a year ago.
For Kids Only
The new Echo Dot Kids Edition looks a lot like the latest version of the general Echo Dot from last year. The rounded shape and mesh covering are very similar, although the Rainbow and Frost Blue colors ensure it won’t be confused with the adult version. Possibly the most important hardware change is that the new device is 70 percent louder than the first Kids Edition. The Kids Edition costs $70, but currently is being offered at a $50 sale price.
It also comes with a year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s kid-specific services for Echo, Fire tablets and other devices. FreeTime Unlimited allows parents to control how the device interacts with their kids and offers exclusive Alexa Skills. Kids can find unique games, build interactive stories, and get special kid-friendly news stories from National Geographic and News-o-matic. After the first year, FreeTime Unlimited costs $5 a month, or $3 for Amazon Prime members. Amazon frequently offers subscription discounts like this to entice people to sign up for Prime. As we pointed out when the first Kids Edition debuted last year, these discounts encourage people to use more Amazon products and promote loyalty to the brand.
The Kids Edition is not the only new Echo arriving this month. Amazon is releasing the Echo Show 5 at the end of June. It lacks the colorful, child-friendly elements of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, but at $90 for a 5.5-inch screen, it fits into the entry-level display space of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled ecosystem. Likely because Amazon Prime members are already very likely to own one or more Echo devices, it’s clear that Amazon is more focused on niche features and form factors than trying for new households in its current phase of voice assistant device development.