Amazon’s third smart speaker was not the Echo Show, Spot, or Plus. It was the Echo Tap, a portable smart speaker with an onboard battery. Launched in early 2016, voice interaction for the Tap initially required users to press a button to activate the device. However, a firmware upgrade in February 2017 transformed it into an always-listening device that could be activated by voice. It was never a top seller like the original Echo or the value-priced Echo Dot. That lack of popularity appears to have led to Echo Tap’s recent discontinuation.
A search for “Echo Tap” on Amazon.com yields many Echo products, but no Tap. Geekwire was able to get a screen capture of a former Echo Tap listing that says, “We don’t know when or if this will be back in stock.” Since that time, Echo Tap appears to have been removed entirely. While Amazon Echo received a refresh last year and the Echo Dot is now on its third generation edition, Tap never received a significant hardware redesign. This is another indicator that Amazon didn’t see enough sales volume to justify a refresh and instead simply focused on selling off the existing inventory.
Other Battery-Powered Smart Speakers Have Also Struggled with Sales
Apparently, few consumers have found a compelling need for a portable smart speaker. This development indicates that form factor and use cases matter. Other battery-powered smart speakers also seem to be facing sales trouble. The Google Assistant-enabled JBL Link 10 can play five hours of music before requiring a recharge and is currently selling for a 60% discount. It’s a good bet that the form factor will not return soon. Consumers appear to be fine with smart speakers that are always tethered to a power outlet. That means there is no need for the added expense of an onboard, rechargeable battery.
For those of you just dying to purchase one of the last Echo Taps, Staples has them listed for $130 with 1-3 day shipping times. Get them while they last.