Amazon Unveils $35 Gadget for Hands-Free Landline Phone Calls

Amazon Takes on Apple and Google With Home Devices Push

Amazon.com Inc. is looking to an aging technology to continue its push to digitize and connect the home: the landline phone.

At an event in Seattle Wednesday, Amazon unveiled a $35 device that plugs into existing home landline phone jacks. The other end connects to Echo speakers so people can use their voice to ask to make calls and chat hands-free. The system can make and receive calls as well as make calls to emergency phone numbers, Amazon said.

David Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon.com Inc., speaks during the company's product reveal launch event in downtown Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Amazon unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its popular Alexa-powered Echo speaker that the e-commerce giant said has better sound. Photographer: Daniel Berman/Bloomberg

David Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon.com Inc., speaks during the company's product reveal launch event.

Photographer: DANIEL BERMAN/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon also announced that its Echo speakers will receive support for making standard phone calls. Previously, using Alexa Communications, Echo speakers could only make calls between other Alexa devices plus smartphones running the Alexa app. Alexa voice calling and messaging will be available on devices made by other companies, Amazon added.

The Echo Connect will be released in the fourth quarter in the U.S. and it will come to the U.K next year. Amazon also announced a redesigned, cheaper Echo speaker on Wednesday.

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