Amazon Announces Plethora Of New Echo And Alexa-Powered Devices
At a press conference, Amazon has announced a plethora of new Echo devices and Alexa-powered appliances, including a microwave and a clock. The Echo devices will be made available worldwide, although some will only release in the United States for now. Almost every Echo in Amazon’s assortment has received an update.
The Echo Show has received quite a significant update as the screen is now a lot bigger than the previous model. With a 10 inch HD-display, the Echo Show’s most prominent feature has received quite an upgrade. Aside from the visuals, Amazon has also fine-tuned the speakers to make them sound louder and more defined.
Aside from the hardware, the Echo Show’s software has also been adjusted and should now be more user-friendly, according to Amazon. The Echo Show is mostly used in the kitchen, and the operating system now features integrations with a few kitchen apps and features, such as a recipe guide.
Compared to the previous version, the new Echo Dot almost looks like a completely new device. The smallest speaker in the Echo line-up is now significantly bigger and the exterior has been altered as well. The speaker grill now features a mesh design and Amazon will release the new Dot version in a number of different colours. The size increase was necessary to accommodate bigger and better speakers. The price remains unchanged.
The Echo Plus is Amazon’s high-end version of the Echo speaker and competes with Apple’s HomePod and the Google Home Max. The design now more closely resembles the rest of the Echo products and Amazon claims that the sound quality has increased as well. Aside from sound and design changes, the new Echo Plus now also has a built-in temperature sensor.
The Echo Plus will also feature a ‘local voice control’ mode, which allows you to use certain Alexa commands, even when you’re not connected to the internet. The feature will work with the most popular controls at first (such as enabling or disabling lights), but Amazon promises that other commands will be available locally as well in the near future.
If there’s one thing that smart speakers seem to lack, it’s bass and a subwoofer. Amazon is now trying to fix that with the introduction of the Echo Sub, which is meant to be used in combination with another Echo device (or multiple ones). The Echo Sub will cost $129.99.
Perhaps the most interesting new device is the Echo Input, which is able to add Alexa integration to existing, ‘dumb’ speakers. The Input features microphones but relies on another speaker for the sound. It’s a quick and easy way to make a speaker of your choice smart. As you can see, the Input is quite small and features a rounded design to easily blend in with other speakers.
As the name suggests, the Echo Auto will be a smart device for in the car. According to the company, the Amazon Echo will be the perfect smart companion on the road and will be made available on an invite-basis only. This ‘early bird’ price is set at $24.99, and the product will release at a later stage for double the price. The Auto will connect to your car’s speakers and features a microphone array with eight microphones, which should be able to detect your voice even when during loud driving or music.
The Smart Plug is an Amazon-branded device and is a simple method to increase the number of connected devices to your smart home. It’s an intermediary between whatever electric device and the real electric socket and has to be connected to your network. After it’s connected, you can use Alexa to dis- or enable the power.
Echo Wall Clock
The Echo Wall Clock doesn’t feature any speakers but is able to listen to your voice. You’ll have to connect it to another Echo device with speakers via Bluetooth.
Perhaps the most unique and interesting device announced at the press conference is an Alexa-powered Microwave by AmazonBasics. Just like the Echo Clock, you’ll have to connect the microwave to an Echo device over Bluetooth as the microwave does not feature microphones. It can, however, listen to Alexa commands and features a number of unique presets for cooking and the kitchen. And heating up your food can be done simply with your voice. The AmazonBasics Microwave will ship later this year for a price tag of $59.99.