Amazon announces smaller, battery-powered Echo version

On Thursday, online retail giant Amazon officially announced the launch of a much-rumored smaller, battery-powered version of its Amazon Echo cloud-connected speaker.

The smaller Echo version announced by Amazon is called the Amazon Tap. It is a totally wireless smart speaker, which is comparatively much more portable and affordable than the Echo. But, despite its small size and low cost, the Amazon Tap smart speaker boasts full access to Amazon's voice-controlled digital personal assistant Alexa.

The Amazon Tap smart speaker is now available for pre-order on Amazon; with the shipping of the speaker scheduled to commence at the end of this month. The speaker can be preordered by anybody who wants it, irrespective of whether or not they are subscribers to the Amazon Prime service.

Priced at $130, the new Amazon Tap smart speaker is $50 cheaper than its bigger counterpart, the Amazon Echo. However, as of now, the Amazon Tap is available only in the US market, just like the Amazon Echo. However, Amazon plans to expand the availability of the smart speakers to other markets in the future.

According to the details shared by Amazon, the new Amazon Tap smart speaker can be charged by setting it down in the included cradle, so that users can take it wherever they want to listen to it. Amazon claims that the speaker has the capability to stream up to nine hours of audio on a full charge, and can last up to three weeks in standby mode.