Prior to the holiday season at the end of the year, Amazon made a major renovation of its customary hardware lineup and announced today at the Alexa event. Echo smart speakers and screens were introduced, as well as Amazon’s Ring and Eero brands, announced smart homes and connected devices. There were various surprises, including Alexa earphones, glasses, and smart rings. And the new Alexa oven.
The highlight of the event is the latest update from Amazon to the Echo device line.
Echo Dot with Clock
Although not a very creative name, Amazon offered a nifty upgrade to Echo Dot, an entry-level Echo. The front of this new Echo Dot with Clock has a digital alarm clock that can be dimmed if necessary. Using this LED display, Dot can also display the weather when asked and a countdown timer.
However, the new Dot does not replace the original Dot. If you need this extra feature, add $ 10 (to $ 49 for the current model) and pay $ 59.
This is Echo that audio enthusiasts have been waiting for. The new Echo Studio is an answer from Amazon to Google’s Nest Max and Apple’s HomePod. This $ 199.99 device supports 3D audio and Dolby Atmos. Five driver units are included, including a downward-facing 5.25-inch woofer, a 1-inch front tweeter, and three 2-inch midrange speakers aimed at different directions.
It also has a 24-bit DAC and a power amplifier with a bandwidth of 100 kHz for high-resolution, lossless music playback. Of course, this is the same as that available for the Amazon Music HD service.
Surprisingly, Alexa announced a $ 129 wireless earphone from Amazon itself. The Echo Buds is equipped with Bose’s active noise reduction technology, which gives Alexa hands-free access. So you can play music, ask for directions, order Uber, and more. In the future, you will also be able to check Whole Foods inventory while shopping (this is for those who are still shopping in real stores).
Echo Buds offers 5 hours of music playback or 4 hours of calls and comes with a case that can be charged up to 3 times. And with a tap, Echo Buds can access other assistants (such as Siri and Google Assistant) on your phone.
Echo Show 8
The $ 129 Echo Show 8 is a version of the Echo device flagship model with a 10-inch screen in a small 8-inch screen. It’s a little bigger than the Echo 5, which is an alternative to the alarm clock, so it’s suitable for watching videos, making voice calls, and so on. The device has an HD display and a built-in camera shutter.
Amazon renovated existing Echo speakers with better sound and new colorful fabric covers (Twilight Blue, Charcoal, Heather Gray, Sandstone), but the price remains at $ 99. It was. In other words, you don’t have to rush to buy an old Echo, but if you’re already ready to buy, you can say that the new Echo is slightly better.
This fun Alexa accessory is basically a nightlight for kids. You can change the color or flash to match the music. However, the $ 30 price is an expensive purchase for a little fun. Wait for the Kids Dot and Glow bundle that should be released?
If you buy a new $ 25 Echo Flex device, you can finally bring Echo into the bathroom (actually, this is how Amazon set up in the demo area). If you connect Flex to an available outlet, it will function as a small smart speaker. Although the camera is not installed (good!), It can respond to voice commands. For example, it provides news and weather information while you are preparing for work. You can also upgrade with $ 14 accessories such as smart night lights and motion sensors. Flex costs $ 25 (about 2700 yen).
Echo Frames & Loop
Amazon has announced a beta version of an invitation-only hardware device. One is Alexa-compatible glasses of $ 179.99 (about 19,000 yen), which mounts four micro-speakers on the frame to realize hands-free Alexa.
The other is a $ 129.99 Alexa-compatible smart ring with two microphones. A simple question or a short call can be made using Alexa with your finger.
New Eero mesh Wi-Fi router
Amazon announced the next generation Eero router. The new model has improved cooperation with Alexa. This router can perform functions such as Wi-Fi shut-off and pause with voice commands. In the future, this functionality will also be provided via API to routers such as TP-Link, Asus, Linsky, and Arris. Routers are available for $ 99 ($ 11,000), or three for $ 249 ($ 27,000), available in the US today and in Europe this year.
Amazon Smart Oven
An Amazon event without a new Alexa-equipped oven shouldn’t be enough. Amazon has just announced a $ 250 combined oven, June Oven, that combines a convection oven, microwave, air fryer, and food warmer. When paired with Echo, you can command operations such as preheating the oven, starting or stopping cooking through Alexa.
New Ring camera
With the release of the Ring Stick Up Cam Elite for $ 199 (about 21,000 yen), the previous Ring Stick Up Cam has dropped to $ 99 (about 11,000 yen). Unlike Stick Up Cam, the new camera is powered via Ethernet. The Ring Indoor Cam is an inexpensive camera that can only be powered by AC, and it costs $ 60.
- Alexa became smarter and stranger
- Amazon also took time to explain some upgrades to Alexa features. One of them is a multilingual mode. This mode allows Alexa to speak both English and Spanish in the United States, French and English in Canada, and both Hindi and English in India.
- A new neural text-to-speech model that uses machine learning to “enhance expressiveness” for Alexa.
- Celebrity voice! Does anyone feel that Alexa’s voice sounds like Samuel Jackson? There would be no such person.
- Jackson’s voice can be added to an Echo device for 99 cents. More celebrity voices will be added.
- Alexa comes to GM. This includes Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles from 2018 onwards.
- Scan-to-Cook is an upgrade to Echo Show. By scanning barcodes, you can use the new Amazon Smart Oven to prepare items correctly. This feature is available for many Whole Foods brands such as 365 Everyday Value, Gardin, and Marie Callender ’s.
- Certified for Humans is a new program that introduces easy-to-use smart home products to consumers searching on
- Amazon. But “easy to use” is just one of the requirements. Another requirement is “working with Alexa”.
- Alexa Guard has been updated so that you can watch more than just alarms about breaking glass, smoke, or carbon monoxide. Now you can monitor human behavior. Guards, footsteps, coughing, or door closures are now detected when the Guard is in “Away mode”
- The Alexa refill service, launched later this year, alerts you when you need to refill your smart home (such as charging a Smart Lock battery or an air filter when it is time to replace it).
- New conversation: You can ask Alexa “Repeat what you hear” or “Why did you do that?”
- Food Network kitchen service using Alexa
- Users like to watch recipe videos on Alexa in the kitchen. So Amazon decided to partner with Food Network to provide cooking classes for Echo Show (live or on-demand). The service will start in October and will also be available on mobile phones and tablets, although Alexa will be the exclusive voice partner. Yes, Bobby Frey is involved.
One of the more interesting things announced today is Amazon Sidewalk. This is Amazon’s low-bandwidth, long-range wireless protocol. This is a protocol designed to connect all IoT devices around your home, including places where Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are not reachable. The network uses a 900 MHz radio frequency band, for example, a mailbox connected to Alexa or garden lighting.
The first product using Amazon Sidewalk is a connected dog tag that warns you when your dog escapes from a pre-set location, such as your home garden. Ring Fetch will be released next year.