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Amazon’s new Alexa-powered Dot encourages kids to use the word ‘please’

Another Alexa device for another use case.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Back in the fall, Amazon unveiled a slew of new voice-controlled Alexa devices, each seemingly geared toward a different use case.

My theory back then on the product launch frenzy: “Amazon hasn’t found one, single, no-brainer use case for the Echo, so it’s releasing different form factors that can push different behavior.”

Say hello to another: On May 9, Amazon will begin shipping the Echo Dot Kids Edition, an $80 version of the hockey-puck-shaped mini Alexa device, geared toward parents and their kids.

In this case, the actual hardware seems to be the same as the existing $50 Echo Dot. But the Kids Edition comes with a case to help protect it; a two-year warranty that includes free repair or replacement; and a year of the FreeTime Unlimited Family Plan, which would normally cost at least $83 on its own for an Amazon Prime member household.

This FreeTime subscription for Alexa comes with add-on features like a library of 300 kids audiobooks; a new slate of Alexa “skills” — or voice apps — from kids’ content makers like Disney and Nickelodeon that could otherwise come with a fee; and kid-friendly music playlists and stations from iHeartRadio, with no commercials.

Existing Amazon Echo owners can also add the basic FreeTime service to their devices via a software update for free that will allow them to do things like limit a child’s usage of the device and screen out songs in the Amazon Music service that contain explicit lyrics. It also includes a feature that encourages kids to use the word “please” when giving Alexa a command.

Current Alexa device owners can also add the unlimited FreeTime version that comes with the Echo Dot Kids Edition by paying a subscription that starts at $2.99 per child, per month.

Got all that? That’s the long version.

The short version: Amazon already sees plenty of Alexa usage among kids and wants to show them and their parents that the devices can be about much more than weather updates and fart sounds.

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