SEATTLE -- Amazon.com is putting more eggs in Alexa's basket by launching two voice-controlled home devices to complement its successful Echo home speaker.
Unveiled Thursday, Echo Dot looks like a flattened version of the cylinder-shaped Echo.
The $89.99 Echo Dot connects with external speakers either via Bluetooth or cable. And, like its taller cousin, it is animated by Alexa, a voice-controlled digital assistant not unlike Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana.
Alexa can tell jokes, play music, and get stock quotes. It can also answer simple questions (it's connected to Wikipedia), control some home-automation devices and, significantly, order from Amazon's online store.
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It's also an open platform for other companies to build apps on: now you can order an Uber ride or a pizza by speaking to an Echo. Seattle-based Amazon calls these apps "skills," a metaphor for how it envisions Alexa as a perpetually improving platform.
The other Alexa-bearing product unveiled Thursday is dubbed Amazon Tap, a portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker. Unlike the Echo, it doesn't need to be plugged into an outlet all the time.