Echo Auto: Alexa makes you feel real cosy in your car

The all-pervasive Alexa is now your companion as you drive to work and home. Amazon has launched Echo Auto for Rs 4,999 in India that can easily be fixed to the AV vent inside the vehicle.

The rectangular-shaped small device is powered by your car's 12V charging socket or USB port. The device connects to your car stereo system for audio playback using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable or Bluetooth connection - whichever is available in your car.

The device consumes data from your mobile device do buy a good data pack as you won't notice the consumption as you ask Alexa to play favourite songs, read news, ask for weather or traffic updates ahead.

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To make and receive call or send messages (this for Android users only) to your contacts, add favourite phone numbers in Alexa app and it will connect you to incoming calls. You will listen to the call via car speakers.

The device uses mobile data for Drop-in and making announcements on other Echo devices.

The call quality is excellent with windows closed. Also, the sound quality is good.

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With its eight-microphone array and far-field technology, Echo Auto will enable you to talk to Alexa over music, AC sound and traffic noise.

You can stream music from Amazon Prime or access music from other providers such as Apple Music, JioSaavn, Gaana or Hungama Music.

The device uses the default navigation app on the smartphone and its data plan to provide directions.

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To ask Alexa to navigate to home or work, go to 'Your Locations' in the Alexa app settings and add the addresses.

To update or check the default navigation app, visit the Traffic section in Alexa app.

Echo Auto is built with multiple layers of privacy protections, including a mic on/ off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

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Additionally, you can control voice recordings -- with the ability to view, hear, and delete utterances in Alexa Privacy Settings or in the Alexa app.

If you are a book lover, enjoy listening to books from Audible or Kindle while driving around.

One issue you will face is that if someone at home switches on Alexa which is part of the Alexa app on your smartphone, the streaming in the car will switch to the music being played via Amazon Echo smart speaker at your home! To avoid this, connect Alexa to a different device at home and avoid the overlapping.

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Conclusion: If you do not have a Bluetooth-enabled system in your car, Echo Auto is a boon. Even if you have the Bluetooth system, hands-free calling, music streaming, books and all the things that come with Alexa at home should make you buy one.

Warning: Do not fidget with Alexa App while driving. Fix it before you start the journey, and then enjoy it.
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