Amazon held a “surprise” product launch overnight showcasing a bunch of updates to existing Alexa products as well as introducing some very interesting new ones.
The Echo Dot was the first cab off the rank, it’s got a new material exterior not unlike the rest of the Echo speaker family and now looking very, very similar to the Google Mini. The new version remains at A$79 but has reduced its microphone count from 7 to 4 but from all reports it hasn’t affected its ability to pick up your voice.
The Echo Show, which remains at A$349 has a new exterior design and looks a little more “home friendly” instead of tech put in your home, if you know what I mean. It’s also got a new set of speakers in it, which apparently sound a lot better but YouTube still block it and Amazon’s video offerings suck so “meh”?
The Echo Plus, is the least exciting of the updates. It’s getting a new set of speakers and remains at A$229.
A new Echo Sub was announced. Looking like a giant ottoman this guy pairs with a single or pair of Echo Plus speakers to provide some much needed chest thumping bass to your home.
Amazon not having the best reputation for sound quality in their smart speakers appear to be making a real play for the entertainment space by updating all their speakers and introducing the sub at the acceptable price point A$199.
Away from their speakers they also announced a bunch of home appliance products that integrate with Alexa in different ways.
A new Echo Link brings your existing receiver or amp into the Alexa fold. Whilst an Echo Link Amp adds a 60W 2-channel amplifier to the equation. Amazon further copying the cohort Sonos in the home entertainment space. There’s no word on Australian pricing or availability for these as yet.
A new US$30 wall clock from Amazon is one of the more quirky product announcements Amazon made. The clock looks like any other and instead of having Alexa built in like you think it might, it simply display active timers you’ve set around the face of the clock. Weird?
Lastly the US$60 Alexa enabled Microwave from Amazon similarly to the clock doesn’t allow you to ask your Microwave what the weather is but it will let you tell it how long you want it to microwave something for.
A dedicated “Ask Alexa” button on the front invokes the voice assistant to wait for your command or you can bark orders at it as you might a normal Echo speaker. The microwave will understand bits and pieces like “frozen vegetables” and other microwave-related phrases but requires you to have a fully-fledged Echo device to pass up the request to the Amazon cloud to process and does not have any in-built Wi-Fi or ethernet.
Source: Amazon: The Echo family