Amazon Tap was released in early 2016 as a more affordable alternative to its wildly popular flagship, Amazon Echo. Much like its predecessor, the Tap was a Bluetooth speaker offering the services of Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant Alexa. It was battery-powered and compact in size for maximum portability. Users had to tap the top of the device to start interacting with Alexa.
The Tap featured all the standard functions one would expect from a mid-range Bluetooth speaker including Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth pairing, volume controls, and a USB charging port. Retailing at $129, it was launched alongside Amazon’s first-generation Echo Dot.
After the launch of Amazon Tap in 2016, there was no news of a second-generation device. Fast forward to 2018 and Amazon claimed to have run out of stock for the Tap. Later in the same year, the listing for Amazon Tap was completely removed from the website, suggesting that the tech giant had discontinued the speaker altogether.
This came as no surprise for many who had been disappointed by the Tap’s performance. After Amazon Echo’s wild success, user expectations were high, and the Tap didn’t quite hit the mark. One major reason for the Tap’s failure was the lack of hands-free voice activation which had been a major selling point for the Echo.
The Bluetooth speaker market is a competitive one and without the full benefits of Alexa, the Tap did not catch on with users. Many preferred other Bluetooth speakers and did not like the performance and sound quality of the Tap.
Clearly, all this and more affected the sales of the Bluetooth speaker which was never able to garner the same level of success as the Echo products. Despite being launched simultaneously, the Echo Dot went on to become Amazon’s best-selling product for a whole month in 2019. The popularity led Amazon to release new generations of the Echo and the Echo Dot. On the other hand, the Amazon Tap failed to be profitable and a second-generation was never made.
Apart from its failure as a Bluetooth speaker, Amazon Tap may also have been discontinued due to Amazon’s own goals for the future. Soon after the success of Echo, Amazon started adopting an “Alexa Everywhere” strategy. This is when Amazon moved beyond speakers and started implementing its vision of creating an ecosystem around Alexa. The future of Alexa envisioned by Amazon naturally made the Tap irrelevant, leading to its discontinuation.