The launch of the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap should be reason to rejoice. The same technology from the fantastic Amazon Echo has been squeezed into its smaller siblings with a much lower price tag. Once again though, Canadians have been forgotten. So, what are your options to get one?
Update (2nd June 2016) - We now stock the Tap. Get yours here or read on to learn more!
Update 2 (17th October 2016) - We now stock the Dot! Pre-order yours now for expected delivery date of the first week of November.
Despite the Amazon Echo's huge success, it's still impossible to get your hands on one in Canada through official means. Why Amazon won't sell it here is unclear and in the meantime, we've been the only reputable Canadian website that stocks them. The original Echo mostly works in the same way in Canada as it does in America (read more about that here) and there's a lot of people desperate to try it out. So, is it the same story with the Dot and Tap and if so, what hope is there for us?
Amazon Echo vs. Echo Dot vs. Amazon Tap
The Echo is the largest of the 3 devices, a 9" tall bluetooth speaker that plugs in to mains power and is always listening for its Wake Word to use Alexa Voice Services. It's the kind of device that you'll want to install, connect to your home WiFi and just leave it in place.
The Echo Dot is essentially the top portion of the Echo with a much smaller speaker built in. It has all of the same functionality of the Echo at a much lower price so it's practical to buy a few at a time and literally 'dot' them around your house! Because the integrated speaker is pretty limited you can connect the Dot to other bluetooth speakers that you already own. Pair the Dot with a decent speaker and you've got a better device than the original Echo at a reasonable price! Like the Echo, the Dot is always listening so you just use your Wake Word to access Alexa Voice Services on the device. It still requires a physical power connection because it has no independent battery but that doesn't take much away from its portability.
The Amazon Tap is meant as a portable version of the Echo. It's the only one in the line-up that has a built in battery and that's also why it's the only one that isn't always listening and needs a button press first. Alexa Voice Services still only work when you're connected to WiFi so don't expect to be using it as much more than a portable speaker out of the home unless you have a portable WiFi hotspot on you. Very useful for moving from room to room however.
Echo Dot Canadian availability
Believe it or not, it's even harder to get the Dot here than the original Echo! Amazon have tried to restrict the purchase of the Dot to Echo owners exclusively. This means that you can only order the Dot through your Amazon Echo. If you own an Echo in Canada, it may be possible to order one but it's a difficult process. You'll need a VPN that gives you a US IP address, a US Amazon account, a US shipping address and potentially a US credit card. Getting the Dot into Canada gets even more complicated with the onward shipping, potential brokerage fees (which can be more than the original device!) and sales tax.
If you're determined, it's not impossible but practically, we don't recommend it for now. With no timeline from Amazon on when they expect to start selling it in Canada, we will shortly start stocking the Dot.
Ordering the Amazon Tap to Canada
Unlike the Dot, you can buy the Tap directly on Amazon. The bad news is that it's still only available in the US so again, you'll need an American Amazon account, credit card and shipping address. We're considering stocking the Tap in future depending on the demand- let us know in the survey below if you're interested and we'll look into selling them.