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Why $130 Amazon Tap Is a Flop

Updated on September 26, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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What's the Alexa-Enabled Amazon Tap?

The Amazon Tap Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon Tap is a portable Bluetooth speaker enabled with Alexa voice services that are activated by a tap of the microphone button.

  • The Tap is everything the Echo and Echo Dot are minus the "always on" feature.

Not having this feature allows the Tap smart speaker to be battery powered and portable.

Amazon claims it can survive up to nine hours of playback after a full charge with the provided charging cradle. That's plenty of time for on-the-go activities, but not without issues.

So why doesn't the Amazon Tap hold up to the Echo and Echo Dot?

Amazon Tap's 5 Biggest Problems

5 Cons of Amazon Tap

The Amazon Tap has five distinct problems that makes it inferior to similar products:

  • 1. Needs WiFi or mobile hotspot
  • 2. Isn't always on
  • 3. Requires a tap to activate
  • 4. Can be pricey
  • 5. Not very useful compared to a smartphone

You can't always expect the Amazon Tap to work when you're out because it requires either WiFi or a mobile hotspot, which isn't always easy to receive outside your home.

The next two go hand-in-hand because this product isn't always listening and can't be activated unless you tap the microphone button. That defeats the purpose of what the Amazon Echo became famous for, and it makes its price tag confusing.

The average price is around $130, which is pricey compared to the $180 Echo or $90 Echo Dot, which have features the Tap doesn't have. Your only selling point is portability and that's not enough.

Finally, the Amazon Tap is far less useful than a smartphone that can do all the things the Tap can but better.

It's easier carrying around an iPhone with hands-free Siri than this device, and I can trust my phone to be internet-enabled versus the Tap.

Why Is "Alexa" Necessary?

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Using the Alexa Voice Service

Given the interface problem with the Tap, does it really need the Alexa voice service?

If my smartphone can do everything the device does, then why should the Tap have a voice assistant. Why not focus on improving the sound more and lower the cost of the product.

I suppose having it be Alexa enabled is a cool perk, but I'd rather stick with the Echo or Echo Dot for those capabilities. Those devices are always on, which makes them more convenient.

I also don't see how I would use the Tap in public without looking like a fool. People don't talk to Siri in public, so why would they ask Alexa questions through a mid-sized speaker. Talk about awkward.

Reason Why People Don't Use Siri

It's good for things like backyard barbecues where music is key, but there are much better speakers available.

The bottom line is that people love using voice services in their home or car, so a portable voice assistant is not something we'd be comfortable using outside our personal space.

Is Amazon Tap a Bust?

Amazon Tap vs. Fire Phone

Is the Amazon Tap a failed product akin to the Fire Phone?

Not exactly...

The Tap is an extension of the Amazon Alexa ecosystem that started with the Echo, and it doesn't have to be a major hit. The Fire Phone tried to bolster the company into the massive smartphone market, which is a much bigger deal.

Even if Amazon Echo and the rest of these voice activated products flopped, it wouldn't nearly be as tragic as what their phone was.

Luckily the company managed to create a hit product that allowed them to create the Tap and Dot, which aren't failures.

  • On Amazon.com, the Amazon Tap garnered over a 1,000 reviews and a 4 out of 5 star rating.

I didn't expect this item to be a big hit but it certainly won't hurt. In fact these products will help further the Alexa ecosystem and could drive more people to get invested.

It's not like the company created a terrible device.

Why People Love Amazon Tap

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Top 5 Pros of Amazon Tap

It wouldn't be far to list bad things about the Tap without talking the good things it has.

Here are the top 5 pros of the Amazon Tap:

  • 1. Provides up to 9 hours of playback
  • 2. Charging cradle + portability + battery powered
  • 3. Uses dual stereo speakers powered by Dolby
  • 4. WiFi/Bluetooth access to multiple streaming platforms
  • 5. Integrated within Alexa's ecosystem and cloud services

With the charging cradle, you can charge anytime and get a full nine hours of usage.

You also get good sound quality through the Dolby dual powered stereo speakers that can access numerous streaming platforms like Spotify or Prime Music.

The device is much smaller than the Echo, which makes it easier to be carried anywhere. You can even buy your own optional sling case to give your device protection against falls and bumps.

And what's seen as a negative can also be viewed as a positive. For some, having it be integrated into Alexa's platform is actually a great perk.

It can do all the things the Echo does, and it grows smarter every week because of consistent software upgrades through the cloud platform.

That's not too shabby right?

What Amazon Customers Want

Amazon Prime Customers

The number of Amazon Prime members are growing rapidly, and they're buying into Alexa's voice services.

What Amazon does best is create a giant ecosystem that fosters growth and purchasing power. Studies confirmed that Prime members spend a lot more on Amazon.com than nonmembers do.

Amazon Prime Members Spend Hundreds More Than Nonmembers

The company has created the Echo and its Dash buttons because it wants customers to buy into their brand, and to be fair, they are giving us what we want.

However we want even more than we're getting. We want better products, widespread one-day shipping for millions of items, and a better Alexa enabled device.

Amazon Tap is not the product Prime customers have been dying to get, but they have become invested in the Echo.

The 2016 internet trends report has showed that voice is quickly becoming the new interface and Amazon is leading the pack (for now).

They need to push those boundaries further for more customers to get involved because they have the strength to do so.

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Amazon Tap Rating

3 stars for Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap Review

While Amazon customers gave the Tap four stars, I'll give it a 3 out of 5 rating.

I don't hate the product because it's not a horribly made item. There are several good things it does, but there are missing features that irk me.

  • The Amazon Tap is not an innovative device like the Amazon Echo.

On the other hand they could've made the Echo portable or battery powered, so why didn't they?

If the company really wanted to be bold, then they would've pushed those ideas onto an existing product instead of a new one to expand their market.

I'm glad they included the Echo Dot because at least that product is a lot cheaper and more accessible to the public. It also has a couple of cool, new features that further innovation.

So in the end the Amazon Tap is a middle of the pack speaker with extra attributes that aren't necessary. You're much better off either spending an extra 50 dollars for an Echo or 40 dollars less for an Echo Dot.

In my opinion, those products are more superior than the Tap, but it was a valiant effort and definitely not a flop like their Fire Phone.

Your Turn!

Would You Purchase Amazon Tap?

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