Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is quickly breaking free of the company’s own hardware, with the company allowing other manufacturers to integrate the technology into their own products. Not only is the Fabriq one of the more affordable examples of this, but it’s also the first non-Amazon speaker to feature Alexa to be released, hitting Amazon on Wednesday.
“We wanted to introduce an affordable speaker that allows consumers to express themselves while providing them access to Alexa’s amazing capabilities,” Fabriq director of marketing Jordon Sansom said in a statement. “But creating Fabriq wasn’t just about bringing a new product to the marketplace. Our years of experience in the home audio industry and our exclusive distribution network and supply chain partnerships have enabled us to deliver an incredible smart speaker at an even smarter price.“
The speaker is relatively compact, measuring 3.15-inches high, long, and deep, with a unique fabric covering giving it a softer, cuddlier appearance than much of its competition. Despite the small size, the speaker offers a claimed frequency range of 60Hz to 18kHz, powered by a built-in 5-watt amplifier. Battery life is claimed at up to five hours of playback time.
In terms of connectivity, the Fabriq supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. The speaker can be used on its own, but can also be paired with out Fabriq speakers, allowing for multiroom sound. This feature seems to function over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, though range is likely more limited when using Bluetooth.
An app is available for both iOS and Android devices, allowing for remote control of the speaker. That is, of course, assuming you’re not using Alexa. As with Amazon’s Echo and similar hardware, the Alexa integration in the Fabriq allows it to function as a combination of smart home hub and personal assistant, letting users look up words without opening a book or easily order a pizza or Uber. As Alexa improves, so does the Fabriq, offering more functionality as new Alexa “skills” arrive.
“We are starting to see more and more consumers put Alexa at the center of their homes and we’ll start to see the magic of what an Alexa-powered smart home can do,” Sansom said. “There is no doubt the Alexa technology is powerful and will change the way we live. With the launch of FABRIQ, I’d like to think we’re accelerating the widespread adoption of the smart home. We are excited to be part of a future where we deliver a high quality, affordable gateway into the smart home and will continue to develop and launch products with this model.”
The Fabriq sells for $50 and is available Jack Plaid, Earl Grey, and Splat options, all of which are on sale now via Amazon.