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Alexa is ready to ride.
Back in September, Amazon went a bit overboard with Alexa-powered devices like a microwave and wall clock. One of the many new items was a device with eight microphones that connects to your phone to bring Alexa to your car. A few months later, the Echo Auto is out in the real world.
The device was on display at the Amazon Alexa booth at CES in Las Vegas, along with other third-party car accessories that work with Alexa, like the iOttie phone mount.
The Echo Auto started shipping a few weeks ago to a “small” group of customers. Later this year, it will be available to everyone for $49.99, but now you can request the device for only $24.99.
But good luck — “demand is through the roof,” said VP of Alexa Auto Ned Curic. Over 1 million requests have come in for car assistant.
That shouldn’t discourage you from requesting an invite to buy the Echo device, which lets you control your music, navigation, podcasts, e-books, smart appliances at home, and more.
The device works with third-party apps like Google Maps and music options like Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and NPR. But several apps are “coming soon,” like Apple Maps and Apple Music. It doesn’t work with in-car infotainment platforms like Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto, so you’re still very much tied to your phone with the Echo Auto.
Amazon added a support page with a list of phones that won’t be compatible with the Echo Auto. Models from ZTE, HTC, HTC, Huawei, and the LG Nexus 4 are just some of the phones that won’t work to control the AI assistant.
Beyond Echo Auto, some cars from BMW, Ford, Audi and Toyota (and future Byton cars) have direct integration with Alexa with their infotainment systems. So no device is needed for those vehicles.
For the rest of us, we finally have a smart car to go with our smart homes.