I reviewed the first gen Echo Dot only four months ago and now Amazon has just announced a 2nd generation version. Wow, that was fast! If you’re not familiar with the Amazon Echo Dot, it’s a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses a voice “assistant” named Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, and more. This next version of the Echo Dot has ditched the rotating volume section for dedicated volume buttons on top to make the whole device noticeably smaller. It’s now available in both black and white versions and has a more powerful processor for improved wake word performance. The Echo Dot uses Bluetooth to pair with speakers or headphones to play music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Like the Echo devices that came before, the new Echo Dot can be used to control lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others. The new Echo Dot has a smaller footprint and a smaller price to go along with it. It’s available right now for pre-order for $49.99 and if you buy 5 Dots, you’ll get 1 free. Buy 10 Dots and you’ll get 2 free. Simply apply code DOT6PACK or DOT12PACK at checkout. The release date is set for October 20th. For more info and to order, go to Amazon.