Alexa on Amazon’s bluetooth speaker – the Amazon Tap – always seemed more distant than on the company’s other offerings, the Echo and Echo Dot; she never wanted to listen when you spoke to her. And that’s not just hyperbole; Alexa would not listen to you on the Tap unless you pressed a button, which was a sharp contrast to the hands-free capabilities of the Echo and Echo Dot. It was an odd decision; the device got a bad rap because of it, and customers just didn’t understand why Amazon wouldn’t offer hands-free support when the device was charging. As a result, the Amazon Tap became the black sheep of the Alexa product line.
But that’s no longer a problem.
Amazon is now introducing an over-the-air update for the Tap that enables always on support for Alexa, enabling the option in the Alexa iOS and Android app; making the device more capable (and making it’s moniker even more awkward) than before. The update will also include support for Echo Spatial Projection, which means the Tap will be able to detect if there are multiple Alexa devices in the home and only respond if it’s the closest Alexa device to the person speaking. There doesn’t seem to be a huge knock to battery life either, as Amazon is saying that the Tap should last around seven hours with it turned on. It’s worth mentioning though that Alexa will only work if the device is connected to Wifi, so you could keep the Tap on it’s charging dock when you need always on listening, and turn it off if you’re concerned about longevity.
What this means is there is now a portable Alexa option with a Bluetooth speaker that is cheaper than the $179 Echo (the Tap’s price now also rivals Google Home, which lacks Bluetooth) and makes it a better sounding option than the $49 Echo Dot. Unfortunately, Amazon still has not introduced the option for multi-room audio (unlike Google Home), which is a glaring omission that those with multiple Alexa offerings throughout their home could seriously benefit from. With this update though, there is now more reason than ever to include the feature, so perhaps Amazon will make it a reality soon.
Amazon says the update will be rolling out over the next few weeks. The Amazon Tap is available for $129.
Does this change your mind on the Amazon Tap? Will you be picking one up? Let us know in the comments below!