Just a few days ago we heard that Amazon was planning on launching a slate of new Alexa-enabled devices, which could include a microwave.
The rumors at the time pointed Amazon announcing the devices soon, and launching each before the end of the year. And sure enough here we are with a plethora of new devices with access to Amazon’s own digital personal assistant, Alexa, on board. We have a new Echo Dot, a new Echo Plus, the company’s attempt at rounding out its home audio options, and even unveiling a brand new microwave.
Amazon held its own live blog of sorts of the event. The company announced the most device it has during one event, and there is quite a few to get through. So, let’s get right into it:
Echo Dot and Echo Plus
First up is a more polished and updated Echo Dot. This new device features a puck-like design, and Amazon is actually reducing the number of microphones available in the device. This time around there are only four microphones, rather than seven. The company says the audio is much louder and more refined as well, what is hopefully a vast improvement over the original Echo Dot’s capabilities.
The Echo Dot costs $49.99 and it goes up for preorder today, and go on sale next month.
The Echo Plus is fabric covered like the Echo Dot, and has the same hardware buttons on the top of the device. Amazon says the new Echo Plus offers up better bass quality and clearer sounds. It, too, will go on sale next month, and preorders start today. It retails for $149.99.
New Echo Show
The new Echo Show is all about the display, giving owners something to look at on a larger, 10-inch display. The new design also facilitates the arrival of new, revamped speakers that offer dual-firing, two inch neodymium drivers on the sides of the speaker. So, an improved, larger screen and better speakers, all of which are essential for a device like the Echo Show.
Amazon is launching new partnerships, too, like with Microsoft to bring Skype to the new Echo Show with a dedicated app, and with Hulu to make accessing live TV even easier as long as owners have a subscription to Hulu’s services.
The new Echo Show will retail for $229.99, with preorders going live later today and the official launch taking place on October 11.
Echo Sub, Echo Link, and Link Amp
The Echo Sub is a 100W subwoofer that will retail for $129.99 when it goes on sale next month, as preorders will go live later today. Amazon says the new sub can be paired with “two of the same compatible Echo devices”, which will bridge the sounds and offer a 2.1 stereo system. This should give a more robust listening experience in a room where the two speakers, and the sub, are set up.
Next, the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp. These are Amazon’s new stereo amplifiers, each of which offers a variety of different input and output options. If you pick up the Link, which retails for $199.99, you’ll need to connect it directly to an amplifier. While the Link Amp is a 60-watt dual-channel amplifier, which can link to your echo to play music from the smart speaker to your separate stereo system. The Link Amp retails for $299.99.
Echo Input and Smart Plug
If you want a small device that you can plug into any of your current speakers to give them Alexa capabilities, the Echo Input is that device. The new, small device is equipped with microphones just like any other Echo device, but there isn’t a built-in speaker so it needs to be plugged in to actually hear audio feedback.
The Echo Input launches in the United States, Germany, and the in the United Kingdom later this year. It will retail for $34.99 when it arrives.
And if that isn’t enough, how about a device that turns your coffee pot into an Alexa-enabled device? That’s what the Smart Plug is for. This is designed to plug directly into a wall socket, and then you plug your device, like a coffee pot, into the device. It doesn’t actually have any microphones, so you’ll need another Echo device in the house that does if you want to use voice commands.
Amazon is working with TP-Link and Eero for easy support and setup of the Smart Plug. When it goes on sale, the device will retail for $25, and it starts shipping next month.
Amazon’s first microwave oven
Amazon went and did it: The company finally announced their first microwave oven. This is a device that will be sold under the AmazonBasics umbrella, and when it goes on sale it will retail for just $59.99. The microwave does support voice commands, so invoking Alexa and saying something like “frozen vegetables” will start the cooking process for a predetermined amount of time. The device also has a built-in Alexa button for good measure.
To get it to work, Amazon is using Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi, by way of the Alexa Connect Kit. This module lets Amazon bring connected smarts to devices like microwaves. Keep in mind that this is not full Alexa support, so you won’t be asking your microwave oven for your schedule or the weather, but you can definitely use simple voice commands to cook something.
You’ll need a separate Echo device to verbalize those commands, but if you’re using an Amazon microwave, you probably already have another Echo device within earshot as well.
Amazon’s first kitchen appliance starts shipping on November 14.
Amazon Echo Auto
Amazon isn’t missing out on automobiles as far as first-party accessories are concerned. The company has just announced the Echo Auto, which features eight microphones, and connects to a vehicle either by Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, or the 3.5mm audio jack. Amazon has its own real-time OS on board, and it has a specific mount to stay in place on the dashboard. It connects to the internet through a connected smartphone.
Shipping starts later this year for early invitees, and it will cost $24.99 for them. Anyone after that the Echo Auto will retail for $49.99.
That’s not even all of the announcements, but these are the major takeaways.[via The Verge]