December 16 2017

Amazon's New Echos Bring Alexa to the Bedroom and Beyond

December 16 2017, 04:46 | Jodi Jackson

Surprise, Inc Event Reveals New Echo and More

Amazon Echo Spot alarm clock is smart and semi-spherical

At an event in its home base of Seattle, the company took the wraps off several new devices, as well as announcing United Kingdom availability for its touchscreen-enabled Echo Show device. The e-commerce giant continues to push its connected speaker range, which uses the cloud-based voice activated AI Alexa.

Amazon has revealed four new Echo products along with the Fire TV with 4K HDR Support at an event held at its headquarters in Seattle.

Here's everything Amazon launched at its special hardware event. Amazon is also claiming improved sound which would be a welcome improvement as I find the original Echo to be decent at best for the price.

It combines the small form factor of the Echo Dot with the full-fat features of an Echo Show.

The New Echo comes in a six color variants, i.e., charcoal, sandstone, heather gray, oak veneer, walnut veneer, and silver. Plus, it features an auxiliary jack for external speakers.

Amazon will make the Echo and Echo Plus available in the USA from next month for US$99.99 and US$149.99, respectively. The Echo Spot will cost $125 and be available in December. And today, Amazon unveiled its new smart speaker lineup starting with a re-designed Echo model priced at $99.

The Echo Plus also features enhanced 360-degree omni-directional audio, with Dolby processing for a more crisp sound.

There's also a new flagship Echo model that's shorter and, wrapped in fabric, softer than the old one.

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the Echo Connect.

The Echo and Echo Plus are available for pre-order today and will ship next month. Since Amazon already added voice calling to its Echo speakers, those who have a home phone service and want to connect it to their Echo device need to buy this.

The device is like a smaller version of the Echo Show - Amazon's first Echo device with a touchscreen - with a 2.5-inch screen that allows it to double as an alarm clock or a nursery camera, all while still being able to make video calls through the mini screen.

At Amazon's official unveiling, we saw a Spot displaying Yelp-powered café reviews and American sports scores, alongside more personalised information like forthcoming appointments or your Amazon Prime photo library. The Amazon Echo Plus looks very much like the original Amazon Echo, sporting a tall plastic body. In addition to the new Echo, it is selling the $35 Echo Connect - a device that connects your Echo to your landline phone line. They will be available later this year. The buttons will cost $20 for a pack of two, and will be released during the upcoming holiday season.

The Echo Buttons are a fun way to use Alexa. Buyers will get a free Philips Hue smart light bulb with their purchase to get them started.

The company has also announced a new Fire TV with 4K HDR support.

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