Last year, Amazon unveiled a child-friendly version of its affordable Echo Dot, which came in bright primary colors, offered age-appropriate content and parental controls. Today, the company is announcing a brand new version of the Echo Dot Kids Edition for $70, plus a couple of new features to its kid-friendly FreeTime app as well.
The 2019 Echo Dot Kids Edition isn't too different from its predecessor, as it has the same basic form factor. It does, however, now come in new colors such as Rainbow and Frost Blue. According to Amazon, the new Echo Dot Kids Edition will also be 70 percent louder than the original, which could be good or bad news depending on your love for nursery rhymes and your child's favorite tunes.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a year's worth of FreeTime Unlimited, which gives you unlimited access to a bunch of curated kid-friendly content such as more than 1,000 age-appropriate Audible titles, premium skills from Sony and Disney Publishing, podcasts and more.
Along with the new hardware, Amazon is also introducing two new FreeTime features. The first is a kid-friendly flash briefing, which offers the latest news from sources like National Geographic or News-O-Matic, a Word of the Day or maybe a new and interesting fact. Parents can control the kind of news and updates that the Flash Briefing offers through the Parent Dashboard.
Another new feature of FreeTime is something called Alexa Skill Blueprints, which lets you create your own interactive adventure using more than ten preset templates. You can have your child be the star of the tale or ask Alexa for your fortune. According to Amazon, Blueprint skills will only be available on devices registered to the parents account.
As with the existing FreeTime app, parents can set time limits for device use, block any unwanted content, and review its usage history.
Amazon said that it worked with the Family Online Safety Institute to create the FreeTime experience and also followed the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. According to Amazon, parental consent is always required when accessing FreeTime, none of the skills collect any personal information, and parents can always delete profiles and voice recordings.
The new Echo Dot Kids Edition is available for pre-order today. After the first complimentary year of FreeTime Unlimited, customers can continue it for $2.99 a month for Prime members or $4.99 a month for everyone else. The same FreeTime Unlimited account can be used for other Amazon products.