The voice assistant Alexa for cars has been available in Germany since June 2020 with Amazon Echo Auto. We explain how the device works.
What is Echo Auto?
To put it simply, Echo Auto is a version of the well-known Echo loudspeaker especially for cars. The device connects to the vehicle's internal infotainment system to emit the sound. The input is made via eight internal microphones. The connection to the Internet is established via a smartphone.
What does Echo Auto cost?
The recommended retail price (RRP) of Amazon Echo Auto is 59.99 euros. From time to time, however, the device is also available for less.
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How does the Amazon Echo Auto work?
Echo Auto can be connected to the system in the vehicle via Bluetooth – but that doesn't work with every model! Image: © Amazon 2021
Echo Auto is attached directly to the vehicle – for example in the ventilation slots of the air conditioning. A ventilation slot bracket is included in the scope of delivery for this purpose. You can check whether the posture is compatible with your own car on this Amazon website.
The device draws power from the car's 12 V socket or via an integrated USB port. It is connected to the music system in the car via 3.5 millimeter audio jack or Bluetooth. Vehicles whose Bluetooth is not compatible with Echo Auto can be found in this list .
How is Echo Auto connected?
Echo Auto is connected to a compatible smartphone via the Alexa app and thus gets its internet connection. The data volume on your smartphone is used for this.
The device can also be used in the so-called "auto mode" via the app. This transforms the smartphone into a driver-friendly smart display that is specially tailored for use in vehicles … including large font, simple touch controls and shortcuts for favorite destinations, contacts and media. But be careful: Echo Auto's scope of delivery does not include a phone stand or phone holder.
The setup of Amazon Echo Auto again in a nutshell:
- Connect the Echo Auto to the USB port or the cigarette lighter socket of the vehicle and attach the device with the supplied vent mount. The light bar should point towards the driver.
- Set up the device in the Alexa app.
- Before driving, set the car radio to Bluetooth or Aux (depending on the connection from Echo Auto) and adjust the volume on the phone and radio.
- Control Echo Auto with your voice.
How is Echo Auto operated?
On the top of the Echo Auto are two buttons for muting and pairing. Image: © Amazon 2021
Echo Auto records voice commands via the eight built-in microphones. The commands do not differ from the known commands for other smart speakers from Amazon . There are also two buttons on the device itself: the left button (crossed-out circle) mutes the microphones. The right button (point) is used to connect or reset the device. If you hold it down for 8 seconds, the pairing mode is activated. Pressing it for 15 seconds will reset Echo Auto.
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What does Echo Auto bring to the vehicle?
With Echo Auto you bring Alexa into the vehicle. Image: © Amazon 2021
Thanks to the good voice recognition from Alexa, you can do many things in the vehicle with Echo Auto that would otherwise have to be picked up by a smartphone – and this is not allowed while driving. You can navigate with Echo Auto, check information about traffic jams, create to-do lists, access the calendar, check messages or ask about available parking spaces nearby. You can even control your home smart home.
In addition, with Echo Auto you can of course also play music via the system in the vehicle. You are not only limited to Amazon Music, other streaming services such as Spotify are also compatible.