Amazon went a little nuts today. At a press event in Seattle, it unveiled upgrades to its existing Echo devices, completely new Echo devices, new features for Alexa, and even a microwave. It was a lot to keep track of; PCMag’s Will Greenwald was there, and he got some hands-on time with that microwave and the sleeker second-gen Echo Show. But what else did Amazon unveil? Read on to see what you can pre-order now and what you might want to add to those holiday wish lists.
Second-Gen Amazon Echo Show
The new Echo Show features a 10-inch HD screen, offering twice the display area as the original, plus improved sound quality, for the same $ 229.99 price. Pre-order it now; it arrives Oct. 11.
New features includes a built-in web browser that will open via voice commands (“Alexa, open Silk” or “Alexa, open Firefox”). Type a website URL via the on-screen keyboard and bookmark favorites.
Amazon also promises “visually enhanced experiences” for certain skills, like stock information via CNBC and games like Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Or tap into video services like Hulu, NBC, and Fire TV Recast.
Amazon Fire TV Recast
What is Fire TV Recast? It’s a companion DVR for access to live and recorded TV on Fire TV, Echo Show, and compatible Fire tablet, iOS, and Android devices. When it comes out on Nov. 14, it’ll cost $ 229.99 for two tuners and 500GB or 75 hours of storage or $ 279.99 for four tuners and 1TB or 150 hours of storage.
Third-Gen Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon’s popular budget Echo Dot device gets an upgrade. It’s 70 percent louder than its predecessor, with a new mic array, and a larger driver (1.6 inches compared to 1.1 inches) for “more powerful sound with lower distortion and enhanced bass reproduction.” It’s still $ 49.99, though, and arrives Oct. 11.
Second-Gen Amazon Echo Plus
The new Echo Plus—priced at $ 149.99—offers “more powerful” and “clearer” sound with stronger bass, Amazon said. It also features a temperature sensor, so it can trigger routines based on your home’s climate. There’s a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, so you can set up your smart devices by saying “Alexa, discover my devices.” An upcoming feature called local voice control will let you control connected smart plugs and lights on Echo devices with a built-in smart home hub, even if your internet goes down. Echo Plus also arrives Oct. 11.
Amazon Echo Wall Clock
The Echo Wall Clock is…pretty self explanatory. According to Amazon, you pair it with an Echo device and when you set a timer, the Wall Clock will show you how much time remains and a 60-second countdown at the end. It’s $ 29.99, but for now you can just sign up to be notified when it’s available.
Amazon Echo Input
For many of us, Echo is a quick way to play our favorite tunes. But Echo isn’t always the most powerful speaker in the home. With the puck-sized Echo Input, you can bring Alexa to nearby speakers via 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth. It’s $ 24.99 and currently only available via invitation.
Amazon Echo Sub
If you don’t want to wait, the $ 129.99 Echo Sub, a subwoofer for Echo devices, ships on Oct. 11. It promises down-firing, 100W deep bass sound through a 6-inch woofer.
Also on the audio front, Amazon today announced that you can connect two of the same, supported Echo devices for stereo sound. And select a preferred speaker for music playback in the Alexa app.
Amazon Echo Link
Echo Link connects to your existing stereo equipment, letting you control music playback and volume via Echo devices or the Alexa app. Amazon said it will be available “soon” for $ 199.99.
Amazon Echo Link Amp
The Echo Link Amp adds a built-in 60W, 2-channel amplifier and a left-right speaker binding post outputs for wiring directly to passive and non-powered speakers. It will be $ 299.99.
Amazon also introduced a microwave because why not, right? Connect it to an Amazon Echo device and instruct it to heat something up by talking to the Echo or pressing the Alexa button on the microwave itself. Pre-order the $ 60 device now; it ships on Nov. 14. Here’s our hands on.
Amazon Smart Plug
Amazon’s new Smart Plug is the first gadget to ship with Wi-Fi Simple Setup, which helps get new devices onto nearby Wi-Fi networks quickly. Pre-order the $ 24.99 Amazon Smart Plug now; it will start shipping next month.
Amazon Echo Auto
Google has Android Auto and Apple has CarPlay, so it was inevitable that Amazon would also get into the automotive space. The Echo Auto is a small device that attaches to the dashboard and responds questions just like it would at home. It connects via your existing smartphone plan and the Alexa app. It’s $ 24.99 but you have to request an invitation.
Amazon said it will soon bring a two-way talk feature to Ring and August video doorbells. This will let you tap into Alexa to answer the door or play a sound when the doorbell rings or a camera detects motion.
When you’re not home, meanwhile, Alexa Guard will keep tabs on the house and send alerts if it detects something’s amiss, like the sound of glass-breaking, smoke detectors, or carbon monoxide alarms detected in your home. This feature will link up with home security systems from Ring and ADT and be available on certain Echos later this year.
Meanwhile, Alexa will creep closer to becoming your disembodied butler with Hunches. If she detects that you’ve forgotten to do something you normally do, like shut off the living room lights before bed, Alexa can ask if she should do it for you. Look for Hunches later this year.
Want to keep your chats with Alexa quiet? Whisper Mode means you don’t have to yell at your smart speaker (and wake up kids or partners); she’ll respond to more hushed tones.
Checking email too much? Link your email via Gmail, Outlook.com, and Hotmail.com, and you can just ask Alexa if you have emails. No need to pick up that phone.
Cook With Alexa
For the foodies, Echo will provide step-by-step cooking instructions from Kitchen Stories, Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52, TheKitchn, and SideChef. Just say “Alexa, let’s start cooking.”
With location-based reminders, you can also ask Alexa to remind you of certain things when you get home or leave the house, like “Alexa, remind me to take the chicken out when I get home.” This works for non-food reminders too, of course. You can also add location-based Alexa Routines that trigger when you leave or arrive at home or work.
Amazon teased Skype voice and video calling with Alexa, which will let you say “Alexa, call X on Skype” to quickly connect.
Amazon will add support for Tidal on Echo later this year. Amazon Music New Release Notifications, meanwhile, will also allow Echo users to follow favorite artists and get a heads up when new music is available.
For the kids, Amazon said parents can set Routines with FreeTime on Alexa. There will also soon be over 1,000 Audible books on FreeTime Unlimited.
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