Amazon Echo Connect gives you a smart speakerphone for your landline

Jon Fingas
Now here's something you weren't expecting from Amazon's Alexa-themed event: a device dedicated to those still using landlines.

Now here's something you weren't expecting from Amazon's Alexa-themed event: a device dedicated to those still using landlines. The just-unveiled Echo Connect turns an Echo into a speakerphone that lets you make land-based phone calls using only your voice. It uses your existing phone number and will even let you dial 911 hands-free -- important if you've injured yourself and can't reach a handset (yes, Amazon is clearly accounting for the "I've fallen and I can't get up" scenario).

The Connect is available to pre-order today for $35, and it'll reach the US in the fourth quarter. Calls from the US to Canada and Mexico will be free, Amazon says. British and German buyers will have to wait until sometime in early 2018. It's not clear whether you'll get any free international calling if you live outside of the States, but this could be a helpful tool if you don't want to depend solely on cell service and still want some modern conveniences.