Amazon announced at a press conference that the Echo Connect, a device that uses Alexa – Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant – can turn your home phone into a smart, hands-free speakerphone that can call any landline number or contact from your phone. It also allows you to call 911 for emergencies using only your voice.
According to the online retailer, the Echo Connect will work with your existing home phone service, whether it’s landline or VoIP, but you must have an Echo speaker in addition to the Echo Connect.
The Echo Connect plugs into a standard phone jack or VoIP adapter and connects wirelessly to your Echo device. Once it is all set up through the Alexa app, you can use your Echo speaker to ask Alexa to call anyone from your contacts list, and they will be able to see your home phone number on their caller ID.
Likewise, when your contacts call your home phone, Alexa will announce their names.
Previously, you could make Echo calls to another Echo — similar to an intercom system — but now your Echo smart speaker becomes a telephone, so you can make and receive phone calls using your existing home phone service.
Amazon Senior VP Dave Limp says that the Echo Connect will provide an amazing speaker-phone experience and assures that it is compatible with all Echo devices today.
The $35 device will be available for pre-order from September 27, 2017, and shipping will available in the fourth quarter of the year.
Other new Echo products include a $100 updated version of the flagship Echo smart speaker, a $150 smart speaker/smart-home hub called the Echo Plus, and the $130 Echo Spot, which essentially adds a small display to the Echo Dot smart speaker.