Amazon hosted a press release a couple of days ago where they announced a whole flock of new Alexa enabled products to perch around your home. Included were announcements pertaining to their latest changes to their existing products. While some of the releases may not be the most exciting reveals ever, they do say a lot about what Amazon is trying to do with their Alexa brand. You can feel how closely they paid attention to the reasons why people wouldn’t choose Alexa over, say, the Google or Apple equivalent products. Now we just need to see if they were successful in that endeavour.
The old range of Alexa products revitalised:
The new Echo Dot works to target the most criticised aspects of the original design, such as the aesthetic and the overall sound quality, and improving upon them. The new design clearly takes inspiration from its competitors’ design, as the base of the product is covered in a fabric similar in style to the Google Mini smart speaker. Amazon has been hard at work improving the sound quality of this product, and it shows. While the sound is a vast improvement over the previous model, it is still only a little better or even only on par with other current options available on the market. If that is an issue for you, however, Amazon has released some new products that could suit your needs in the latter half of this list.
A New Echo Plus
The Echo Plus still has the same fabric covering as the previous model but has some new hardware under the hood. The new Echo Plus now comes with a built-in temperature sensor. This is helpful in many ways, as it allows you to link your device with your central heating system or air conditioning and have it automatically keep your home at whatever temperature you set it to.
A New Echo Show
The new Echo Show design shares the Fabric body covering and sound improvement as the previous ones in this list. It also comes with a larger display and a tonne of traditional internet browser support, expanding the uses of the built-in 10-inch touchscreen.
Amazon’s new products:
The Echo Input
Now for stuff we haven’t seen before. The Echo Input is identical to the Echo Dot in functionality but it foregoes the actual speaker by allowing you to connect it to whatever speakers you have at home. This transforms them into the traditional smart speakers, where you hear Alexa through your own speakers but use the Echo Input as your microphone.
The Echo Sub
The Echo Sub is, in essence, an Alexa enabled subwoofer that provides booming bass to whatever room it is situated in. It can also link up to two other Echo Dots or regular Echo’s to create a 2.1 smart speaker system that adds bass where the existing speakers lacked.
The Echo Link and Link Amp
Amazon is dipping its toes into high-end audio products by the looks of it, as they also announced the Echo Link and the Link Amp which provide a complement of features targeted at people demanding studio level functionalities. The Echo Link has inputs and outputs for optical, coaxial and analogue audio, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a subwoofer line out. The link amp adds a built-in 60W, 2 channel amplifier with left/right speaker outputs. It also comes with a high-res 24-bit DAC that will allow the audiophiles among us to stream music from Tidal’s lossless audio streaming service.
The Echo Smart Plug
Nothing very innovative but it still is nice to have a smart plug that is supported by the other products you link it with. No third-party apps can make this product valuable to people without too much technical knowledge.
The Fire TV Recast
The Fire TV Recast is similar to the original Fire TV device in that it still has the built-in voice commands of an Echo and the TV screencasting of the Fire TV. What’s new, however, is the built-in DVR which allows you to record shows and then stream them to your phone or any other Alexa enabled devices. Terrible name but a pretty cool product.
The Basics Microwave and Echo Wall Clock
These two products were probably the last things we expected from Amazon. A clock and a microwave, doing exactly what you would think. The microwave cooks at your command and the clock reminds you of your alarms and timers with a small LED ring around the edge. They aren’t too excessively priced either, but using them in South Africa is unlikely to be supported, not to mention the cost of shipping.
New Ring Stick Up Cam
Ring was recently bought out by Amazon so one of their products was announced at Amazon’s tech event as well. It is a stick-up camera with pre-built Amazon integration. It competes with the currently popular Nest home security cameras and does a fairly good job at it, a good sign for the relationship between Ring and Amazon. We will have to wait and see how much more Amazon’s acquisition of Ring will accomplish.
Amazon Echo Auto
The Echo Auto is a small rectangular microphone that fits neatly on your cars dashboard and aims to bring the functionalities of traditional smart speaker assistants into your car. While it looks simple an easy, proper integration with in-car functions are generally unsupported, with the supported ones still being slightly clunky. It’s still appreciated though, as it gives us more options to work with.
And that’s a wrap!
Those are all the new products announced by Amazon this month. What do you think? Contact us if anything specific catches your eye, and we can try and make sure it makes it onto our site as it releases.