Amazon's wildly popular Echo smart home appliance sold out days before Christmas — and won't be back in stock for weeks. Amazon's website says it won't be shipping any more of the $179.99 devices until January 25.
"Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping [Echo products] in stock," Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke said in a press release.
Amazon says it sold more than nine times the number of Echo devices it did last year, due likely in part to a 20% discount that made the Echo price-competitive with Google Home, its main competitor.
You Can Still Find an Echo — For a Price
Amazon's supply chain woes trickled down to their national resellers, nearly all of which ran out of Echoes. Shoppers willing to do some post-holiday footwork at regional retailers might be rewarded, but shouldn't expect the tech to be marked down like it frequently was during the Black Friday and holiday seasons.
A salesperson with Tennessee retailer Electronics Express told DealNews they had a handful in their warehouse as of Dec. 31, and Nebraska Furniture Mart listed the Echo as in stock in its Omaha store.
Amazon maintains a list of official resellers on its website, so if you're still looking for an Echo, check to see whether there's a brick-and-mortar retailer near you.
If all else fails, new Echoes are still popping up on eBay — though often for a substantial markup.
The Dot Is a Great Alternative
The Echo is a voice-controlled appliance that taps into Amazon's Alexa cloud services to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. With an Echo, you can control smart lights, stream music from a variety of services, or get information about things like recipes, unit conversions, or mixed drinks. But the Echo isn't the only device that can do all this.
The Amazon Dot provides the same functionality as the Echo for less than a third of the price, but has a much smaller speaker than the Echo. Instead, the Dot includes Bluetooth connectivity and a headphone jack, for easy connectivity to an external speaker. The Tap is similar to the Echo, but is portable, and only listens when you press a button on the unit.
Readers, will you wait for Amazon to get the Echo back in stock, pick one up on eBay, or consider something else? Let us know in the comments!