Amazon announced new kid-friendly Alexa features and a glowing night-light during the Amazon Devices Event on Wednesday.
Kids now get their own version of the Echo speaker with the new Echo Glow, a multicolor smart lamp that pairs with Alexa. Parents can ask Alexa to make the Echo Glow light flicker like a campfire while telling bedtime stories, activate a sleep timer that dims gradually over time, and create a dance party complete with multicolored lights that pulse along with the rhythm with the music.
“Another delightful thing we’ve seen over the past year is how much kids relate to smart home. They love turning the lights on, and off, and on, and off,” Amazon wrote on its live blog about the Echo Glow. “They do it because it’s fun and delightful. We wanted to make that experience easier and even more fun for kids.”
The Echo Glow differs from the Echo Dot Kids in that it focuses its controls on the multi-colored lights, rather than on Alexa commands.
For older kids, Amazon is incorporating students’ school experiences into the Alexa. The new Alexa Education Skill API pairs up with programs like Canvas, Kickboard, and Coursera that many schools use. Parents will be able to find out more about their student’s academics by asking Alexa questions like “What kind of homework does Chris have tonight?” and “How did Sam do on the math test yesterday?”
Kids will be able to use Alexa’s education skill to ask what kind of homework they have and set reminders for important tests.
In addition, by using the new FreeTime feature on the Echo and Echo Dot, families can come together to watch kid-friendly videos, make video calls, and more. To really have a family-friendly Alexa experience, the Echo Dot Kids is the way to go over regular Amazon Alexa devices. Alexa is more friendly in this version, responding with stories and age-appropriate responses. One of the main differences with the Echo Dots Kids Edition is that it filters out explicit lyrics on Amazon Music, and it disables voice purchasing, news, and adult-themed question-and-answer scenarios.
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