Amazon has just announced a slew of new home devices which includes a second edition Amazon Echo – which is smaller and cheaper – an enhanced Echo Plus model as a smart home hub, and an Echo Spot alarm clock.
Amazon Echo (Second-Gen)
The new Echo is simply dubbed the Amazon Echo, making it the successor to the original model. It’s a similar shape to the first-gen – a cylinder with controls on the top – but it is now shorter and comes in a selection of finishes, including wood, metal, and fabric.
The device features a 2.5in dedicated woofer speaker and a 6in Dolby tweeter. To compete with Google’s recent changes to its Google Home, Amazon has added free voice call support – however, as with Google’s offering this only works in the US, Mexico, and Canada at present. Buyers can also add an optional accessory known as the Echo Connect ($34.99) which connects directly to you landline and turns the Echo into a speakerphone.
The cloth-covered model is cheaper at $99.99 but the wood or metal models cost $119.99.
Amazon Echo Plus
You may have already seen some of Amazon’s promos for this on YouTube; the main hook here over the regular Echo is that it’s a smart home hub capable of interfacing with over 100 smart home devices. Amazon’s tried to streamline things as much as possible and the idea is you can pair smart home devices simply via voice commands rather than messing with different connection protocols or applications.
Design-wise it’s a lot like the first-gen Echo in terms of size and features a metallic finish in one of three colours; gold, white, or black. On the hardware front, Amazon has equipped it with updated far-range microphones, while the speaker configuration is similar to the Echo above, except the tweeter is larger at 8in. At $149.99 it’s pricier than the regular Echo announced alongside, but cheaper than the original model. It will ship from October 31.
Amazon Echo Spot Alarm Clock
The Echo Spot is a semi-spherical alarm clock with a 2.5in display and, being part of the Echo family, it comes with Alexa onboard, can play videos and music, and you can choose the clock face design. It’s like a funky little orb with a flat circular face and comes in white or black.
Amazon considers this an evolution of the Echo Dot, as the idea appears to be to use it not only as an alarm clock, but also for video calls. It can also accomodate external speakers via an audio jack or Bluetooth. This little thing will arrive in December, but as alarm clocks go it isn’t cheap at $129.99