Amazon’s taking the spotlight back to its original Alexa-powered device with the unveiling of the Amazon Echo Plus, the new Echo, the Echo Button, and the Echo Spot. We believe Amazon stepped up its game where it matters the most: user experience.
It’s been two years since Amazon introduced the first generation Amazon Echo to the world. If you’re one of those Amazon Prime members who were fortunate enough to grab Echo exclusively, you might still remember the thrill of hearing Alexa‘s somewhat disinterested voice for the first time.
A lot has happened since then, and now more Alexa-powered devices grace the market than just the Echo.
Customers can now choose from a range of Amazon smart gadgets starting with the portable Amazon Tap to the more sophisticated Amazon Echo Look.
With the latest devices, Amazon looks to dominate the smart home market for the foreseeable future.#Amazon unveiled new #Alexa devices--smart homes will never be the same.Click To Tweet
Who would even want the original Echo now when you can have the same functionalities in a much smaller and more affordable Echo Dot or Tap?
For a while, Amazon Echo seemed all set to give up the limelight to its new family members. But apparently, Amazon is not yet done with the original device.
Amazon has finally released a smarter version of the beloved first generation Echo.
AMAZON IS NOW MAKING HOME AUTOMATION INTEGRATION SET-UP RIDICULOUSLY EASY.
This time, it comes with a ‘Plus’ version, too–a moniker you’ve gotten used to with your favorite Apple smartphone.
Make way for the Newest Alexa Devices!
Yesterday, Amazon opened its arsenal containing the newest Echo smart devices to the public. Just like the first time, Amazon didn’t fail to impress its audience with its array of Alexa-powered devices that are smaller, cheaper, and some are even built for specific parts of your next-gen smart home.
If you’re an avid Amazon customer, you probably know by now that the company is not one to focus solely on its competition. Rather, its principal goal was to deliver what its loyal customers need.
However, upon seeing these new set of Alexa products, it’s clear enough that they are in fact made to compete with the latest offerings of Amazon’s closest rivals.
It appears that Amazon is threatened by the Google Home and Apple HomePod. Who wouldn’t be? With these two tech companies coming head-to-head in their race towards AI and machine learning supremacy, Amazon has all the reasons to be threatened.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these new Alexa devices and see what more they really offer.
Amazon Echo Plus
The star of the event, no doubt, was the Amazon Echo Plus. This tubular Alexa-powered device looks pretty similar to the original Echo.
But don’t let that fool you.
The Echo Plus may look like the old Echo from the outside, but it is equipped with the latest technology that makes it far superior to its predecessor.
It has improved speakers with Dolby processing that produces enhanced, immersive, 360-degree audio experiences.
Aside from the speakers, the rest of the Echo Plus’s new smart home features expand on the device’s capability while making it easier for first-time users to set up.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: EASE OF USE MADE ALEXA A DAY-1 HIT, AND EASE OF USE DEFINES THIS NEXT GENERATION OF ECHO PRODUCTS
No doubt, experienced smart home speaker users will be interested to hear that Echo Plus comes with a built-in smart home hub, but thanks to greater accessibility, even the uninitiated will easily be able to connect the device to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and smart home devices.
Through Alexa, you can now control all compatible smart devices in your home.
If you’re wondering what Amazon’s new devices and Amazon’s new tech really amounts to–this could be it.
Amazon would love for Alexa to be synonymous with the latest in next-gen smart home control.
Compatible devices you can control with the Echo Plus:
- locks and security,
- garage doors,
- computers and TVs,
- and much more.
You no longer have to buy a separate smart hub. All you have to do is ask Alexa to search for all of your connected devices.
The smart home hub feature supports devices from:
- Philips Hue
- ZigBee smart devices.
Unfortunately, Amazon only mentioned ZigBee smart devices. So, that’s a real disappointment for customers who own Z-Wave devices.
Amazon Echo Plus is neither yet a total replacement for SmartThings or Wink.
In fact, Amazon is looking for new developers to get their products Echo Plus API enabled–which they say should be rather easy. So if your device isn’t connected yet, just wait.
You can also use the Echo Plus to play songs from Amazon Music, Spotify, and Pandora in different parts of your home (with the aid of other Echo devices) through its multi-room functionality.
Furthermore, the Amazon Echo Plus features seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation which makes it possible for the said device to hear any instruction from any direction, even with music playing.
The Echo Plus will cost $149 USD ($30 under the original price of the Echo) and be available for shipment in October.
Amazon Echo ‘New’
Aside from the Echo Plus, Amazon will also release a second generation Echo which is shorter than the full-sized Echo Plus and first-generation Echo. If you want an Alexa device that could go with the aesthetics of your home, the new Echo would be the best option for you.
It comes in six different materials and colors which include Charcoal Fabric, Heather Gray Fabric, Oak Finish, Sandstone Fabric, Silver Finish, and the Walnut Finish.
The new Echo comes with all the functionalities of the Echo Plus except for the smart home hub. In addition to that, the new Echo is also more affordable than its predecessor at only $99.99 USD.
But wait, there’s more!
The new Echo has an additional accessory called Echo Button. It’s some sort of Bluetooth remote that would let you ‘buzz in’ while playing a game with your new Echo.
Jeopardy! fans, you definitely know how to use the Echo Button.
So, if you want to make your new Echo or Echo Plus experience more entertaining, an additional $20 USD for a pack of two Echo Buttons might be worth it.
Amazon Echo Spot
Also, the Amazon Echo Spot, the latest addition to the Echo family, made its debut yesterday.
The Echo Spot comes equipped with all the Alexa functionalities. Some say that this new device was basically just an upgraded version of the Echo Dot with its small and compact design.
The Echo Spot features 2nd generation far-field technology with four microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation which enables it to hear instruction from any direction and even with the music playing–blah blah, you know the spiel.
You can connect an Echo Spot directly to speakers using a 3.5 mm audio jack (lol, Apple) or Bluetooth if you want additional voice control to your home stereo system.
It has a round, viewable screen that could be utilized as a smart alarm clock, to get the weather, or even display your calendar.
In addition to that, you can use Alexa to see the latest news and information in your Echo Spot.
It also works with cameras, lights, TVs, fans, thermostats, garages, sprinklers, and more, just like the Echo Plus.
You can even use it to watch live camera feeds from different parts of your home.
The Amazon Echo Spot costs $129.99 USD and comes in two colors, black and white. It will be available for shipment in December.
Amazon Echo Connect
The cheapest among the newest Alexa devices is the Amazon Echo Connect. At only $34.99 USD, this device would allow you to connect your home phone to your compatible Echo device. That would make it easier for anyone to call any number without lifting a finger. The Echo Connect will be available in December.
All these new Alexa devices clearly show that Amazon’s not going to let anyone take its smart home throne. Equipping the Echo Plus with a smart home hub is enough to keep Google and Apple at bay–for now.