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New Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition gets $10 price cut, wildlife-inspired designs

New Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition 2020
(Image credit: Amazon)

The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition just received a wildlife-inspired makeover and $10 price cut. 

Announced alongside the new spherical Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, the reimagined Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition ditches the rainbow stripes for tiger stripes that Carole Baskin would approve. There's a panda version, too.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Editions quick specs

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Speaker: 1.6-inch front-firing driver
Audio outputs: 3.5mm audio line out
Microphones: 4

Instead of $70, the child-friendly orb-shaped speaker now costs $59.99 — the same as the Echo Dot with Clock. This means it's a little more accessible to introduce your kid to an AI voice assistant, so long as that doesn't creep you out.

For what it's worth, we found the previous Echo Dot Kids Edition did a good job at restricting access to features to like online shopping. Instead it favors parent-approved audiobooks and radio stations. 

This Echo Dot Kids Edition supports a new Alexa feature dedicated to reading time. Here's what we know about it, and everything we know about the smart speaker, so far.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition price and availability

The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, which comes in tiger or panda designs, is available for pre-order and costs $59.99. 

When you purchase an Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, you'll also get free 1 year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus. Amazon Kids Plus offers access to content from channels like Nickelodeon and PBS Kids across Echo, Fire Tablet, Fire TV devices and more.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition design

Like the standard Echo Dot, the Echo Dot Kids Edition has adopted a round design. While the bright finishes of the previous-generation, puck-shaped Kids Edition stood out, something about the new orb-shape is even bolder. 

It allows a natural placement for welcoming animal faces, too. 

Alexa's LED ring sits at the base of the speaker, instead of on top. This lets the status light reflect on the surface where the Echo Dot sits.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition features

The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition features a 1.6-inch speaker, which should be plenty for any dance part your child wants to have. It also packs 4 microphones for fielding commands, although they can be disabled for privacy. When it comes to voice recordings, an Alexa kid's profile can automatically delete or selectively delete recordings, too. 

On any Echo speaker, parents will be able to create voice profiles for their children as well. This way Alexa will shift to a kid’s profile when it recognizes a kid’s voice, and limit its responses and their activity accordingly. 

Reading Sidekick

Reading Sidekick is a new Alexa skill dedicated to helping your child read. Saying, “Alexa, let’s read” will prompt the voice assistant to take turns reading with your child and offer encouragement when they’re struggling. 

The Reading Sidekick skill works with hundreds of children’s books, including popular titles like Pinky Dinky Doo, Be A Good Dragon, Batman: An Origin Story, and more. 

With a physical or Kindle Edition copy of a supported book in hand, kids with an Amazon Kids Plus subscription can start using Reading Sidekick through an Echo speaker. Alexa will even listen for accuracy, speed and word knowledge.

Although some kids are back in school, many are still in distanced learning. Reading Sidekick seems to emulate the classroom reading experience by giving your child an additional voice  to 'popcorn' a story with, which might come in handy for busy parents.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition outlook

Smart assistants are gaining skills specific to the school-from-home experience. We've seen Google add homeschool tools to its smart display, and now it Amazon has answered with a refreshed kid-friendly smart speaker. 

Amazon does a generally good job with helping parents navigate their child's relationship with technology. Existing parental controls, plus the new kid's voice profiles inside a cartoon animal-covered shell makes Alexa a more attractive playmate than ever.