Amazon is putting its Alexa virtual assistant into another new Echo product — and this one’s aimed at a younger set.
Echo Dot Kids Edition ($80) is the newest smart speaker from Amazon, and another way for the company to get its Alexa assistant into more homes, and more rooms.
The youthful Echo Dot comes with built-in parental controls and a “kid-friendly case” which comes in blue, red, or green. Echo Dot Kids Edition is also said to be a “kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller,” and it will respond with a younger audience in mind. (This includes automatically filtering out explicit songs from Amazon Music.)
The new Dot comes with a full year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a service which offers “unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.”
Amazon also says its “worry-free guarantee” will replace any broken Echo Dot Kids Edition after the first two years of purchase.
Parents can control and monitor their kids’ activity with the new Echo Dot through the online Amazon Parental Dashboard, which shows the apps and skills their children are using, and for how long. Voice shopping is also turned off to “prevent unexpected purchases,” and we would have been surprised if a feature like that wasn’t included.
It’s worth noting that Echo Dot Kids Edition comes at a premium — it costs $30 more than an Echo Dot, so there has to be a genuine interest in your kid having their own dedicated Echo device.
Though the features do indeed seem well-considered, the general questions surrounding all Alexa-enabled devices — and what happens to the voice data given to Amazon — remain.
It all comes down to your comfort level with the products, and your desire to have another Alexa-enabled device in your home — a device geared specifically toward children. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes out May 9.