Amazon on Thursday (September 20) unveiled more than a dozen devices at its surprise hardware event, held in Seattle, Washington.
The announcement included updated versions of existing Echo devices, as well as some new ones, along with a brand new camera, clock, and microwave.
It doesn’t end there; the retail giant also revealed a refreshed version of its Fire TV – the Fire TV Recast – that serves as a DVR for over-the-air (OTA) channels like ABC, CBX, NBC, and Fox,
It goes without saying that all of these devices are going to be Alexa-powered, and in case you missed the event, here’s a quick rundown of some of the biggest reveals.
Releasing in October, the updated version of the Echo Dot is priced at $49.99 and is available for pre-order with immediate effect.
It is bigger than the previous version of the Dot and now comes with a fabric finish all around the side of the circular device.
The new Echo Dot also has a 1.6-inch driver, instead of the smaller 1.1-inch driver that its predecessor came with, which means it will give you better sound, and if Amazon’s claim is anything to go by, it should be 70 percent louder.
Now, here’s a brand new Echo device, which looks like a smaller version of the Echo Dot but does not have speakers built into it, simply because it’s supposed to be connected to external speakers; hence, the 3.5mm jack on the back of the tiny unit.
On top of the Echo Input, you have a far-field microphone array for voice commands to the Alexa-enabled device, which the voice assistant will execute through the plugged in speakers.
While it is not yet available for pre-order, the 12.5mm tall device will sell for $34.99 sometime later this year.
The Echo Input is the ideal product for users who aren’t really looking for music out of their Echo devices but would still like to utilize Alexa with their existing system.
Amazon has come up with the Echo Sub to help improve the sound, specifically bass, of your existing Echo devices.
It can be hooked up to a single second-generation Echo if you’re okay with mono – or two if you’re looking for that stereo effect.
The $129.99 Echo Sub is available for pre-order today, for an October ship out.
Amazon is also offering a $249.99 bundle that will include two second-gen Echos, in addition to the Sub, to give you a complete stereo package.
ECHO LINK & ECHO LINK AMP
Conceptualized on the lines of the Sonos Connect and the recently unveiled Sonos Amp, Amazon has released its own version of the two devices in the form of the Echo Link and the Echo Link Amp.
Priced at $199.99, the Echo Link has been “designed to connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment,” thereby giving you control over music selection, volume, and playback on your Echo devices.
The $299.99 Echo Link Amp, on the other hand, comes with a two-channel (60 watts each) amplifier built right into the device – the additional $100 making it possible for you to hook up speakers directly to it.
Both the devices are not available for pre-order, yet.
The updated Echo Plus announced Thursday is a regular Echo with an improved smart hub built into it, allowing the Plus to now discover new devices you add to your smart-home system.
In addition to an improved audio quality, the new Plus also boasts an integrated temperature sensor that allows you to set up temperature-based Alexa routines, like, for example, turning on a heater, or an air conditioner, when the room reaches a certain temperature.
Also, the Plus can be used offline to control your smarthome devices, should you lose Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Echo Plus has a $149.99 price tag attached to it and can be pre-ordered now for an October delivery.
AMAZON SMART PLUG
Amazon has come up with a $24.99 Alexa-compatible Smart Plug, designed to make life less frustrating when it comes to controlling the Echo family of devices; which means you can now tell Alexa to switch on/off any smarthome device connected to the wall outlet via the Smart Plug.
Ready for pre-order today, the device will ship in October.
One of the more interesting devices Amazon presented at the Thursday event is the AmazonBasics Microwave that gives you access to “dozens of quick-cook voice presets, so you can cook just by asking Alexa” – thanks to the built-in Alexa Connect Kit.
The kit “includes a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE module that contains software — written and managed by Amazon — that automatically and securely connects to Amazon-managed cloud services..”
You can also use the integrated Ask-Alexa button for simple commands like “Alexa, cook for two minutes and 30 seconds on medium temperature” and Alexa will obey.
The AmazonBasics Microwave also has an integrated Dash button, so you can quickly order stuff that you use regularly right from the Microwave itself.
This counter-top microwave costs $59.99 and can be pre-ordered today for a November 14 delivery.
ECHO WALL CLOCK
Another very interesting device coming later this year is the $29.699 Echo Wall Clock.
Designed to help you with timers, reminders, calendars, as well as changing the time, the Alexa-compatible Echo Wall Clock communicates with your other Echo devices via Bluetooth.
The second-generation Echo Show announced for 2018 is a huge improvement on last year’s version, with a bigger 10-inch screen, now, instead of 6 inches.
Its two speakers – one on each side – are equipped to do Dolby digital sound and promise better sound quality.
The biggest update, by far, is that it’s now capable of serving as a smart hub for your Alexa-compatible devices, which the previous version of the Plus was incapable of.
Also, the eight microphones integrated into the Echo Show make it the best Alexa device, in terms of voice detecting capabilities.
What’s more is that Amazon is also bringing Firefox, as well as its own Silk browser, to this second-generation Echo Show.
Plus, there’s going to be a Skype app that will allow video calls on the device.
The Echo Show will cost $229.99 and is available now for pre-order; it ships in October.
FIRE TV RECAST
Amazon’s new Fire TV Recast is coming with an integrated DVR that can record television and content broadcast over-the-air through an HD antenna.
Amazon is offering two variants of the Recast; the $229.99 version can record two shows simultaneously, while the $279.99 model is capable of doing four in one go.
This super versatile device is meant to allow you to “watch, record, and replay free over-the-air programming to any Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet and mobile devices.”
Not only can you watch the games and your favorite network shows that you missed; you can even take them all over the place – thanks to the Alexa app.
The Echo Auto is a great new Amazon device that is, basically, an Echo for your vehicle, designed to perform in the noisy environment of your car – thanks to the 8-microphone array built into it.
In addition to the usual voice commands, the Echo Auto can also connect you to Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, or any other navigation app of your choice, when you ask Alexa for directions.
Priced at $24.99, the Echo Auto is available on an invite basis, for now.