The Amazon Tap is a Bluetooth speaker that Amazon released back in March of last year, also integrating the company’s voice-assistant named Alexa. Up until now, you had to press the physical button on the Amazon Tap speaker to bark a command to Alexa. Given that the Tap runs on a battery, its ability to wake up with the “Alexa” trigger word was not available.
A firmware is coming to the Amazon Tap which will allow the user to enable a “Hands-free” feature that would allow users to call out Amazon’s wake up word to use it just as the Echo was intended: hands-free. The update will also enable “Echo Spatial Perception” or ESP, which will allow a single Echo device to respond to queries in environments where there are multiple Echos listening for the hotword.
There’s no knowing yet exactly how the new option will affect battery life on the portable speaker; our guess is that it will be affected negatively, though the magnitude of the effect is yet to be tested. Once activated, users can also hold the play/pause button for three seconds to deactivate the Amazon Tap’s microphones from listening for the hot-word.
It’s nice to see that there is now a portable Amazon Echo option that you can easily move around without requiring a reboot.
The firmware update is slowly rolling out, so you may not receive it right away. You can check the Alexa app periodically to see if your Tap has been updated with the “Hands-free” option.