What Happened To Echo Auto? Has It Been Discontinued?

When it first launched, Echo Auto promised to make our commutes and road trips much smarter with hands-free Alexa.

It was a small, simple, and affordable way to add voice assistants to any old car.

But lately, it seems to have dropped off the radar.

So if you’re wondering whether Amazon is still supporting this little gadget, and if it’s still worth buying, keep reading as I’ve broken down everything I know about the Auto. 

Key Points

  • Echo Auto hasn’t been axed; a 2nd Gen model launched in September 2022 with a sleeker design and fewer, but better, mics.
  • It still leans heavily on your phone’s data plan, which can be a drawback for people with limited data packs.
  • The 2nd Gen model introduces a pay-per-service roadside assistance feature, a first for Echo Auto.
  • The device works well if you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem but doesn’t add much if you’re using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Has Echo Auto Been Discontinued?

Has Echo Auto Been Discontinued

No, the Echo Auto has not been discontinued and is still supported by Amazon. A 2nd Gen version was released in September 2022. This new device is smaller, easier to mount, and has better privacy protection but has fewer mics. 

So you can still get a new Echo Auto if you don’t have one, but to be fair, it hasn’t been a runaway hit for Amazon, so I’ll dig into whether it’s worth getting. And if you’ve already got the first-gen Auto, it might not be worth upgrading either. So, let’s get to it. 

A Detailed Breakdown of the Amazon Echo Auto

1. 1st Gen Echo Auto: The Original

1st Gen Echo Auto

The Echo Auto first hit the scene back in 2018. It was a game-changer for bringing Alexa into our cars. Here’s a quick rundown of its key features:

  • Setup: Pairing was done via Bluetooth.
  • Compatibility: It worked with most cars that had an auxiliary input, and also connected to your smartphone.
  • Price: The official cost was $49.99, but it was generally affordable.

So, what did other people think? Reviews were a mixed bag. Some loved the convenience of Alexa on the go, while others pointed out glitches and limitations. I used one myself, and there was definitely a lot of room for improvement. 

2. 2nd Gen Echo Auto: What’s New?

Echo Auto (2nd Gen, 2022 release) | Add Alexa to your car

Amazon launched the 2nd Gen Auto in September 2022 to try and up the game. It brings a couple of improvements and fresh features to your car’s dashboard: 

  • Design: It’s sleeker with a fabric cover and an adhesive mount. I found it quicker to install on my car.
  • Microphones: Down to 5 from the original 8, but don’t worry, they’ve improved the quality. It can still pick up your voice commands amidst noise like traffic, music, and the AC. 
  • Roadside Assistance: No subscription is needed for this; it’s a pay-per-service deal.
  • Price: It’s still friendly on the wallet at $54.99. 

3. Features Retained from 1st Gen

Just like before, you can jam out to your favorite tunes or listen to podcasts on the go. You’re not losing any of your beloved music features. You can also rely on Echo Auto to provide directions and navigation while easily handling general queries.

When paired with the Echo Auto, you can use Alexa’s Auto Mode on your phone to make it easy to keep track of and control important functions on your phone, like calls, text, music, navigation, etc. Auto Mode can’t be turned on if the Echo Auto is not paired. 

Also, the new Auto model retains the privacy protection features, including a dedicated mic-off button that helps ensure Alexa won’t hear any private conversations you have. You can even review and delete the saved voice recordings from the Alexa app. 

So, if you were a fan of the 1st Gen Echo Auto, you’ll feel right at home with the 2nd Gen. Albeit, there aren’t a lot of new features added on, but the overall experience of using the device is very similar. 

4. Issues That Still Exist

Despite the new features, some issues still need to be solved with the 2nd-Gen Echo Auto and even a few new ones. 

One thing that has yet to change is Echo Auto’s reliance on your smartphone. It uses your phone’s data for almost everything, which can be a bit of a bummer if you’re watching your data usage. Streaming high-quality music and listening to long podcasts can quickly deplete your data plan. 

I’ve sometimes seen issues with Echo Auto not always nailing down my exact location. This can lead to incorrect weather updates or gas station suggestions, issues with navigation, and other kinds of GPS assistance. 

Also, the cable is non-removable and has a split design that works well for some but not for others. The speaker unit with the aux input has been moved to a separate box, with a short USB cable protruding from it. 

This can limit the placement of the Echo Auto because the speaker box has to be close to your car’s USB port. And if this cable gets damaged, it might not be possible to repair it. 

5. Should You Buy or Upgrade?

If you don’t have the original Echo Auto and are looking for a way to get Alexa into your car, the 2nd-Gen version is a good option. If you want Alexa while driving, you should get the Auto. 

But if you get a really good deal on the original Echo Auto (since it still goes on sale on some sites), you could opt for that instead of shelling out more money for the new model. 

If you have any other voice assistant already built into your car’s dashboard, like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, then the Echo Auto might not be worth it. It depends on which ecosystem you prefer: Amazon, Google, or Apple. 

To be clear, if you don’t use the Amazon Ecosystem regularly and aren’t a big fan of using Alexa around the house, the Echo Auto probably isn’t for you. 

Now, should you upgrade if you already have the old model? It might be worth the switch if you’re keen on new features like roadside assistance. But if you’re rocking the 1st Gen without any issues, you likely won’t get any major benefit. Sticking with it is a solid choice. 

Alternatives To The Echo Auto

The Echo Auto isn’t the only way to upgrade your car with smart features, so here are a few alternatives you can look at: 

Anker ROAV Viva
  • Roav Viva by Anker: This gadget plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and brings Alexa into your vehicle.
  • Garmin Speak: This one combines Alexa with Garmin’s GPS navigation. It’s a bit pricier but offers a lot of features.
  • JBL Link Drive: If you’re a Google Assistant fan, this device could be your go-to. It has noise-canceling features and works well with Android phones.

And remember not to overlook the assistant that’s already on your phone! Whether it’s Siri, Google Assistant, or even Bixby, these can often handle basic tasks like navigation, calls, and music control. A lot of smartphones now have an ‘auto’ mode for driving. And if you’ve got a modern car, it’ll likely already come with smart features that you can use. 

You might not need an additional device cluttering up your dashboard, and you could avoid spending extra cash. So consider compatibility, your preferred voice assistant, and your budget. 

FAQs

Are there any future updates planned for the Echo Auto? 

Since it took about 4 years between the Echo Auto’s 1st and 2nd gen, there’s no news of any future updates yet. But Amazon is known to give pretty good support to its devices even once they get old, so you can still get an Echo Auto 2nd-gen and be able to use it comfortably for a few years. 

Is the Echo Auto compatible with all cars? 

The Echo Auto is generally compatible with many cars, but there are some exceptions. Amazon has listed a few car models that don’t work with Auto when using a Bluetooth connection, but they still work with an aux cable. So if your car has an aux, it’ll likely work. Remember to mount the Auto on a durable, hard surface, and not on leather or fabric. 

What is Echo Auto’s “Find My” feature?

Echo Auto’s ‘Find My’ feature helps you locate your car when you’re outside it. Have you ever forgot where you parked? Happens to the best of us. You can use ‘Find My’ on your Alexa app to see the last parked location and even use voice commands for this purpose. 

Conclusion

So, to recap: the Echo Auto hasn’t been discontinued, and you can still get the 2nd-gen version. Some stores still pack the 1st-gen too, often at great sale prices.

The new version has several improvements, so it’s a viable option if you’re looking to get Alexa into your car. But it still falls short in some areas, so weigh your needs and decide accordingly. 

Got any more questions or thoughts on Echo Auto? Feel free to drop them in the comments below. Drive safe!

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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