Amazon reveals redesigned 2018 Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show | Industry
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Amazon today introduced nearly a dozen new Alexa-powered devices, from a second-generation Echo Dot to the Echo Sub for amplifying sound for previously existing speakers, the latest set of initiatives to spread Alexa everywhere.
Also introduced today are the Echo Input; Echo Link and Echo Link Amp to amplify sound from existing speakers; Echo Auto for cars; and the AmazonBasics Microwave, Echo Wall Clock, and Amazon Smart Plug with voice control.
Many of the devices will are available for preorder today and ship next month or later this year.
The news was announced in a presentation today held at The Spheres, an Amazon facility in Seattle that resembles a biodome.
The new Echo Show replaces the original, which debuted last year, and it has a 10-inch HD display, an improvement on the 7-inch previous generation.
The new Show will have a 8-mic array, what Amazon VP of devices and services David Limp called the most advanced array of microphones in any Echo device.
The new Show will also have Skype for calls and video chats directly from Echos, further extending the partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, and for the first time will have web browsers like Silk and Firefox. Alexa Presentation Language was also introduced for a new visual display option for developers.
The Echo Show will ship for $229.
To expand the Echo Show’s video use cases for voice control of your recordings, a TV channel guide, and integrations with parters like Hulu and NBC as well as videos DIY videos to do things like cook at home. The Echo Show will also be able to tap into the Fire TV Recast, Amazon’s first DVR service.
The Echo Show competes with Google’s third-party smart displays such as the Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, and a third expected out soon from Sony. Google is also reportedly planning to release its own Echo Show competitor called the Home Hub soon, possibly at a Oct. 9 Made by Google event in New York next month.
Google is also expected to introduce a charging and display device for the Pixel 3, also reportedly planned for release next month.
The refresh of the Echo Dot brings change to the best-selling smart speaker on Earth. It now comes with a fabric exterior rather than a plastic one, akin to the mesh used for Google’s Home Mini series or Apple’s HomePod.
The Echo Dot is Amazon’s most popular speaker, but due to its low volume output, it’s best suited to act more as remote controls or auxiliary devices to larger options, such as the Echo Show or Echo speakers with subwoofer.
Unlike more recent versions of Echo speakers, the Echo Dot has been embraced by a number of companies to do more than plug into a wall, as third-party businesses have created devices to mount the Echo Dot to ceilings and walls or add them to portable amplifiers.
The Echo Dot will be sold for $49, the same price as the first Echo Dot. The second-generation Echo Plus announced today also has a mesh exterior and hub for connecting with smart home devices and costs the same as the existing speaker at $149. It also comes with a thermometer inside to tell you the temperature in a room. When added to a routine in the Alexa app, temperature detection can ensure your air conditioning turns on if it gets too hot or too cold.
The Amazon Basics Microwave will cost $59 and the Wall Clock, with the ability to set and follow multiple timers, will ship for $30.
Ring, the smart home company Amazon acquired in February, also debuted new Stick Up cameras for home security indoors and outdoors today; they will ship for $179.
Last year, at an event also held in September, Amazon introduced six new devices, including Echo Buttons for gameplay and the Echo Spot, an alarm clock-sized device.