Amazon is sending its popular Internet-connected speakers to college.
Arizona State University debuted a program this week in which it will give 1,600 Amazon Echo Dots to students living in a high-tech dormitory.
Amazon (AMZN) introduced the Echo Dot, a smaller, cheaper version of the Amazon Echo, in September. Whereas the Amazon Echo costs $180, the Echo Dot costs $50.
The retail giant’s voice-activated Alexa digital assistant is the primary way people interact with the speakers, which can play music on command or share local weather conditions.
Residents of the Tooker House dormitory for engineering students will have the option to receive the Echo Dot as part of Arizona State’s push to expose them to cutting-edge voice technology. Amazon is sponsoring the Arizona State program.
The university is also debuting new courses for engineering students in which they will learn to program so-called skills, or apps, for Alexa. The university did not say whether students would also learn to build voice-activated software technologies for Apple’s (AAPL) Siri or Google’s (GOOG) digital assistant that compete with Amazon’s Alexa.
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“It’s about innovation and ensuring our graduates are equipped to play a leadership role as voice-enabled technology becomes part of everyday life in homes, shopping malls, workplaces, and cities,” Kyle Squires, dean of Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering, said in a statement.