Of all virtual assistants that currently exist, Amazon's Alexa is easily one of the most popular and powerful out there. The Alexa AI has grown stronger and more functional over the years, and whether you want it to sing you an entirely original song or control all of your home automation gadgets, it's got the intelligence and brains to perform a wide array of actions and queries. Although Alexa is available to third-party manufacturers who want to implement on their own devices, the purest way to interact with the assistant is through Amazon's own Echo devices. The traditional Echo and Echo Dot are currently the most popular of the Echo line, but one another device in this series that launched alongside the first generation Echo Dot is that of the Amazon Tap.
The Amazon Tap doesn't get nearly the same amount of attention that its siblings do, but that's because it's a bit of a different product. Unlike the Echo and Echo Dot that are stationary gadgets in your home that are always listening for the "Alexa", "Echo", "Amazon", or "Computer"
hot-word, the Tap is a wireless Bluetooth speaker that's meant to be taken with you wherever you go. It has Alexa built into it, of course, but you previously needed to press the physical microphone button on the front in order to prompt Alexa for a command or question.
Amazon released a software update for the Amazon Tap today, and it now allows you to control the device by saying one of Alexa's handful of hot-words just like you can on the Echo and Echo Dot. This new feature comes by way of a firmware update for the Alexa app on both Android and iOS, and in order to enable it with your Amazon Tap, select it from your list of Alexa-enabled devices, go to its Settings page, and enable the option that's titled as "Hands-free." Once you do this, you can summon Alexa from the Amazon Tap by saying one of the four hot-words that the AI currently supports.
When you've got the Hands-free mode enabled, you can temporarily mute the hot-word by holding the play/pause button for three seconds, and you can then un-mute it by doing the same thing. The new feature is certainly great to have so you don't have to tap your Tap in order to get Alexa's attention, but do keep in mind that having the Hands-free mode on will quickly drain the Amazon Tap's battery. Amazon says that the update for the Alexa app that enables this functionality should be rolling out over the air within the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out for it if you've got a Tap and are tired of, er, tapping it.