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Amazon Echo Auto Solves the 'Are We There Yet?' Road Trip Problem

Sept. 21, 2018
3 min read
Amazon Echo Auto Solves the 'Are We There Yet?' Road Trip Problem
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As Amazon forges ahead in its march to put a microphone in everything and connect it with Alexa, the company has unveiled a new gizmo designed to add a connected element to practically any vehicle. While Echo Auto is set to retail for $50, it's being offered at 50% off for a limited time. The natural question, of course, is what value does it bring to your vehicle's cabin?

If you're familiar with Alexa, you're aware that it can do some pretty spiffy things when synced with a connected home. By merely uttering phrases such as "Alexa, please open my garage door," or, "Alexa, adjust the thermostat to 75 degrees," the service can talk to other connected devices to make magic happen. Echo Auto, however, opens up an entirely new set of possibilities for road-tripping families.

If you have a smartphone and a vehicle with a cigarette adapter, you're golden. Just plug the device in, pair with your smartphone and start yapping. The most obvious use here is to let your children play DJ. By asking Alexa to queue up playlists, songs or artists, many miles of open road can zoom by as your little ones take turns asking for the next track.

But it also adds a layer of practicality. Prior to passengers becoming hangry, you can ask Alexa for the best restaurant nearby, specifying whatever type of cuisine you like. Considering that you're likely passing through unfamiliar territory, Alexa's ability to tap into reviews and recommendations is a real boon. And, once you hear a name you like, it can trigger navigation as well.

Amazon's Echo Auto could make your family road trips more educational. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

The real fun, however, is in the education and reference department. While kids of yesteryear relied on "I, Spy" and counting cars, colors and license plates, the Echo Auto can turn an otherwise-tedious multi-hour trip to grandma's house into a makeshift discovery session. Translated, one of the many educational skills available through Alexa allows a passenger to ask for a phrase to be spoken back in a new language. The Curiosity skill allows passengers to learn about a random topic — sort of like spinning the Wikipedia wheel. Alexa will ask you which of two topics interests you more, and after you respond, you'll get a summary of that topic. Rinse, repeat and the ride is basically over. There's also a host of games, including Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal and Categories.

It's unlikely that Amazon built the Echo Auto to create an engaging way for families to connect, interact, laugh and learn while road tripping, but that's exactly how it turned out. Plus, because it's portable, you can bring it along for road trips that you fly to. Just make sure to remove it from the rental car before flying back home.

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H/T: TechCrunch

Featured image by Amazon Echo Auto (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

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  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
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Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
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Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees