U.S e-commerce giant Amazon has launched a good number of new Echo devices all integrating Alexa smart virtual assistant. The new devices include the Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Auto. The four new gadgets all adopt affordable price tags and have as their main feature, the Alexa smart virtual assistant which is integrated with all four products. Among the lot, the Echo Auto is the entirely new product but the trio of Echo Plus, Echo Show and Echo Dot are upgraded versions of already existing Amazon smart home products.
The new Echo Dot is the third generation model of Amazon’s smart speaker integrated with Alexa. The design is similar to those of its predecessor. Just that this time around, Amazon utilises a new fabric design instead of plastic. The smart speaker is also available in three colours. The new speaker is also said to be louder and richer. Apart from these, the functionality remains similar to its predecessors. The smart speaker comes in at $49.99 and is presently on pre-order on Amazon.
The Echo Plus is also a next-gen model (2nd gen) and comes with similar upgrades with a new fabric design replacing the plastic one from last year. There is also an upgraded 3-inch speaker with more solid and deeper bass as well as clearer mids and highs. The device includes a built-in Zigbee hub for easily connecting to smart home devices that use the Zigbee protocol. The pricing is, however, the same $149.99 as the previous model. The Echo plus is also open for pre-orders on Amazon while shipping will commence on October 11.
The third product known as Echo Show comes with a significant upgrade over the previous model bearing the same moniker. There is a giant leap to a huge 10-inch HD display which is the largest you’ll get on any Echo device. The sound system is also upgraded as it now features two 2-inch drivers armed with a passive radiator and Dolby audio processing. The device equally features a built-in Zigbee hub for easily connecting to smart home devices that use the Zigbee protocol just like the Echo Plus.
In addition, the Echo Show packs a new 5MP front-facing camera for HD video calls. When Alexa gets support for Skype audio and video calls, users will be able to make Skype calls from the Echo Show. The device can also be used for browsing as it comes preinstalled with Amazon’s Silk browser. Despite the massive upgrade, the new Echo Show is priced at the same $229.99 as the previous model. Pre-orders are also being accepted on Amazon.
The new Echo Auto is an all-new smart Echo device for cars. The device comes with a $24.99 price tag which makes it the cheapest Echo device so far. The gadget lets users access Alexa inside their car. It taps power from a car’s 12V power outlet or using a USB port. The device also connects to the car using Bluetooth or an aux cable. There is also the option to connect using an FM transmitter adapter.
Echo Auto has a built-in 8-microphone stack designed for in-car acoustics, Echo Auto can hear you over music, A/C, and road noise. There is also a dashboard mount with which it is attached firmly to the car’s dashboard. With voice prompt, users can play music, check the news, open the garage door, find the nearest gas station, and more. It also enables you to make calls, set reminders, add items to your shopping and to-do lists, or manage your calendar. Unfortunately, Amazon indicates that Echo Auto will not be available now. Instead, the product will be available by invitation only later this year.