The Echo Auto with Alexa is far from young. It’s been on the market for many years now, and it seems that Amazon is not in a hurry to update it.
Even as I write this, there’s probably the likelihood that they’re about to launch this year some updated version, just to prove me wrong. But as it stands at the moment, the Echo Auto with Alexa, of which I still have one in my car doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of hardware upgrade love.
It was launched globally a lot later than in the USA, with the UK getting it many, many months, or perhaps even years after the USA launched it. I’m not sure if they just wanted to better test it correctly, if they had stock supply issues, or if that was always their rollout strategy. But considering that it’s probably a little bit newer in the UK, it may not seem as old to other international marketplaces.
Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the Echo Auto. But I have no doubt that innovations and movements forward in technology mean that it’s possible the microphone array could be improved, and the overall interoperability with different cars could also be elevated.
It could be that Amazon has decided that there are so many new cars launching with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto until this was decided to be altered or phased out, that they didn’t see the need for Amazon Alexa in cars.
It could be that the Alexa integrations that exist, are hoping to increase that as they are natively built into more and more cars in North America.
It may not be that the hardware needs a particular update. It certainly works well enough, but perhaps there are some features they could add to Amazon Auto, that would provide a little more value for having it in your vehicle. Perhaps it could link in with the GPS location within your phone to help with speed alerts, traffic warnings, and general map and navigation assistance while you are driving.
I know that Amazon doesn’t have a Native Maps solution, but some sort of integration with ways Google or Apple Maps could perhaps be a possibility. It could be that they integrate directly with the traffic systems in different countries to pick up live traffic alerts.
The use of GPS location could also be helpful for reminders in Alexa, where you could say, “When I am traveling past X location, remind me to do X,” and then Alexa could simply interrupt me in the car and tell me that needed to happen.
Of course, this could raise some rather embarrassing situations, if you were telling Alexa to stop you for something specific that you didn’t want other people in the car to be told about, but I’m sure that this is highly unlikely. It’s unlikely you’re gonna say pick up my antibiotics suppositories for that strange disease I have into Alexa.
It might be novel to have an Alexa Auto that is Bluetooth-powered, perhaps something that you could clip onto the front of your sun visor, rather than having it powered on your dashboard. Even if it was mounted at the top of your windshield, you could run a small cable, just like you would on a dash cam around the side of your windshield, down into a powered port.
This would provide a much better listening position for Alexa and also give you a little more dashboard space.
It would surprise me if Amazon is thinking of slowly discontinuing the Echo Auto, as it is really quite a helpful device. It’s quite easy to be driving home, get stuck in traffic, drop in on the kitchen, tell the family that I’m running late, or simply hear my daily news while I’m sitting in traffic on the way to work.
It’s also great for:
- adding last-minute reminders
- finding out information during a conversation in the car with my kids
- it’s also superb for just playing music
So while I also have a CarPlay device in my car, there are some things that I do find Alexa is generally needed for. The integration into the car system doesn’t need to be wired through an aux cable, which is incredibly handy, just needs to be U.S-powered and then connected through my phone.
I find this to be a really good solution.
Some of you may have it wired in with a 3.5 ml aux cable, in which case that just means an extra cable for you, but it’s likely that your car model is a little bit older and therefore doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth.
When I bought my Alexa Auto, I had an older BMW 335, which didn’t have Bluetooth that was suitable. So I also had an aux cable.
In some ways using the aux cable gives you better audio, in my opinion.
So, if anyone is listening. Let’s keep the Echo Auto and improve it. Perhaps a screen is too much to ask for but maybe a Bluetooth Echo Auto that clips on the sun visor would be handy?
Do you have an Echo Auto? Like it? Comment below.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.