Amazon seeks to widen its smart speaker lead with a new product intended for children's use, that comes pre-packed with parental controls, and access to some of Amazon's subscription services included in the purchase price.
Amazon's product page for the new product says the new Kids Edition will allow young ones to use Alexa as "a kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller Alexa will play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more — all with younger ears in mind." It also comes with one free year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited and a two-year replacement guarantee.
FreeTime Unlimited content included with the device is available across multiple devices. With the 1-year subscription, FreeTime Unlimited offers access to over 13,000 kid-friendly books, educational apps, games, movies, and TV shows from Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, Amazon Originals for Kids, and more. After one year, the subscription will automatically renews every month starting at $2.99 per month.
The parental controls include daily time limits and the ability to filter out explicit lyrics from Amazon Music, all manageable from an iPhone or Android app. A wireless intercom system is available through the "Drop in" feature, connecting the device to other Echo speakers in the home, or through an app.
Echo ecosystem vs. HomePod
The new edition represents the latest salvo in the battle between Amazon's Echo line and Apple's HomePod.
Apple has not released a family-specific version of the HomePod, nor is it likely to. However, the company has recently touted its parental management tools across various platforms.
The $349 HomePod remains significantly more expensive than any product on the Echo line.