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Big news! Amazon Alexa family is expanding

Big news! Amazon Alexa family is expanding
Image courtesy of anker.com

It wasn't too long ago that the Amazon Echo first hit the market. In the summer of 2015, consumers were first introduced to this brand new product. In March 2016, the first generation Echo Dot and Amazon Tap were added to the Echo family.

Since that time, these Alexa-capable devices have skyrocketed in popularity. Now, more than 8 million people have an Echo device in their home, and there's no end in sight for the potential growth that's possible.

Naturally, after seeing the sudden success of the Amazon Echo, other manufacturers want in on the action. And this could be a good thing. It means that Amazon may begin looking into more opportunities to include Alexa as a built-in feature within other products.

Tip within a tip: Concerned about what your Alexa-enabled device might be overhearing? Click here and we'll show you how to listen to everything the Echo has overheard, and delete it.

One example of this is just making news. A company called Anker has announced its plans to release an Echo Dot-sized speaker that is Alexa capable. But how will this new speaker compare?

Introducing the Eufy Genie

Image: Anker's Eufy Genie speaker

Anker's speaker, which is called the Eufy Genie, will be available as early as August 16. This smart speaker will be a bit bigger than the Echo Dot, but it will only cost half the price: $35.

Just like the Echo Dot, the Eufy Genie will use Alexa to listen in, waiting for you to say the trigger word and give a command. If you're not sure what commands to try with your new smart speaker, click here for a list of Alexa commands you're not using but should be.

So, are the Eufy Genie and Echo Dot both capable of the same things? Basically. Anker's smart speaker will have the ability to do all of the same Alexa commands and skills. Ordering products, playing music, providing news and traffic reports, controlling smart home devices, you name it.

Or, at least that's what Anker is promising. For now, we're recommending that you hold out before you buy until we know for sure if this speaker can really keep up with its alleged counterpart.

What we're most excited about is the fact that this is the first time Alexa will appear in a product that doesn't have Amazon's hardware. That could mean we'll be seeing Alexa pop up in other devices, maybe even possibly more powerful speakers.

Why exactly is Amazon opening up the door for other manufacturers to use its Alexa virtual assistant? We don't know for sure, but we can speculate. With Alexa becoming an increasingly-large core for Amazon's business, it only makes sense that the retail giant would want more people using the virtual assistant.

We've already warned you about the possibility of annoying ads showing up on the Alexa platform. And, when more consumers have the ability to use Alexa to shop on Amazon, you can only assume that getting the platform into more households would be an extremely good thing for business.

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