What is Amazon Echo Auto?

Alexa for your car

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Amazon Echo Auto is a new smart device that will add voice commands to existing cars. It can help cars that didn't come with advanced technology gain new abilities for less than $50. 

What is Amazon’s Echo Auto?

Think of Echo Auto as just an Amazon Echo for your car, meaning you can ask Alexa to perform a host of tasks or questions without touching your phone. The basic idea is to improve the hands-free operation of tasks you want to perform while driving.

If you find Amazon Echo and Alexa's voice functionality useful and fun in your house, Echo Auto could mirror those benefits in your car.

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The Echo Auto contains 8 microphones to listen for the “Alexa” keyword; the microphone array is designed to pick up voice commands over car-related sounds like music, air conditioning, or outside road noise.

While some cars may provide similar benefits to Echo Auto, the built-in functions may be harder to use, or you may feel more comfortable speaking to Alexa everywhere. Echo Auto is also portable and can be easily moved across multiple vehicles for added convenience.

How Does Echo Auto Work?

The Amazon Echo Auto device is advertised as sitting somewhere on your dashboard using an included mount so it can plug into a power source within the car using the included Micro USB cable.

Echo Auto gets its connectivity and smarts from your phone’s data, so you'll need a phone capable of running the Amazon Echo app. The app is also how Echo Auto gains access to directions and music.

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To hear Alexa's voice emitted from your car speakers, you can either connect it using Bluetooth or use the included 3.5mm cable. 

If your vehicle lacks both Bluetooth and an auxiliary port, you may still be able to connect Echo Auto to your speakers using a cassette adapter or FM transmitter.

What Can Amazon Echo Auto Do?

The most notable features of Echo Auto include the ability to:

  • Play or initiate music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, Audible audiobooks, podcasts, or NPR news.
  • Make phone calls.
  • Add or check reminders.
  • Add items to shopping lists.
  • Manage calendar appointments.
  • Get directions with Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze, provided the app is on your phone.
  • Trigger location based routines and tasks based on locations like home or office.
  • Find location based destinations such as gas stations.

Tap Into Echo Skills From Your Car 

Beyond the native Echo Auto features, the Echo ecosystem features 50,000+ skills from third-party developers which can now be utilized from inside the car, thereby making Echo Auto more extensible going forward.

For example, ask Alexa to play music, news, or open the garage door, among many more things.

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If you have an Echo device in the house, you may be familiar with all the Skills developers have built. These additions can be browsed inside the Echo app on your phone.