Amazon has unveiled their next generation of Echo: the all-new Echo. Looking back, it has been three years since the online shopping giant not only introduced us to Echo and Alexa but also showed us a new way of interacting with technology using voice. They managed to achieve this with the help of tens of thousands of developers who, using the Alexa Skills Kit, have built and improved Alexa’s skills to ensure that we get the best Alexa experience available.
Second Generation Far-field Technology
Bringing to the table second generation far-field technology, the Echo best features include better wake word processing, improved beamforming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation. The Echo far-field technology works to detect the wake word from across the room even in the noisiest parts of your home.
“The all-new Echo and Echo Plus deliver better sound, all new far-field technology, and new features we think customers will love.”
Easy on the eye, the new Echo by Amazon has been designed to deliver next-generation far-field performance and improved the room-filling sound that is enhanced 360-degree omnidirectional audio, with Dolby processing, to provide deeper bass and crisper high notes for better audio clarity. You can play music from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. With Amazon Music, you can search for music by lyrics, time-period, or let Alexa pick the music for you.
On the launch Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa shared, “Three years ago we introduced the first Echo, powered by Alexa, with a goal to fundamentally simplify and improve the way customers interact with their homes”. He adds, “Alexa can make calls, play music in every room, turn on your lights, and even order you a pizza. But it’s still day one, and today we’re making Echo and Alexa even better. The all-new Echo and Echo Plus deliver better sound, all new far-field technology, and new features we think customers will love.”
Say Hello To New Features
According to Amazon, routines will allow you to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command of your choice. For example, say, “Alexa, good night,” and Alexa will turn off the lights, lock the door, and turn off the TV. You can also create Routines based on the time of day – for example; you can create a Routine that has Alexa turn on the kitchen lights, start the coffee maker, and read the weather forecast at 6 a.m. every weekday and 9 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
Routines are compatible with popular Works with Amazon Alexa lights, plugs, switches, and door locks from leading brands like TP-Link, Philips Hue, Wemo, and August. They will all be vailable for all Alexa devices including the all-new Echo, the previous generation Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus starting next month.
Our favourite feature on the home Echo is that we no longer need to remember the specific name of a smart device or group of smart devices to control them. All we have to do is place our Echo and smart devices into smart home groups. This then enables Alexa to act intelligently on your request, making your interactions with your smart home more natural and effortless. For example, when you walk into the kitchen, you can now say to your Echo “Alexa, turn on the lights” rather than “Alexa, turn on the kitchen overhead lamp.” This feature will be available on previous generation Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus starting October 2017.
Our second favourite feature is Echo Connect which gives you the freedom to call anyone with Alexa. The only downfall is that it is currently only available to customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Users love the fact that they just have to say, “Alexa, call Mary’s mobile,” and Alexa will call Mary’s mobile phone from your smartphone’s contact list. Alexa can also dial phone numbers that you speak to her so that you can reach people or businesses that aren’t in your contacts. Calls to 911 are not supported. This feature is available in previous generations, the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show.
Amazon Alexa in BMW and MINi cars mid-2018
Also available among the Alexa Gadgets designed top enable fun and a playful Alexa experience is Echo Buttons. It offers customers the opportunity to play games with friends and family using Alexa. Echo Buttons comes in a two-pack and is priced $19.99. Amazon plans to have it available in time for the holidays in the US, UK, and Germany. On top of that, expect Alexa to pop up outside the smart home too as collaborations with BMW and Mini car manufacturers have been finalised. In mid-2018 all new vehicles will be equipped with in-car Amazon Alexa integration built into their infotainment system.
Set Up The New Echo In Minutes
With its built-in smart home hub, Amazon promises that you can set up your smart home in minutes. This is because the Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easy. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps.
The all-new compact design comes in a variety of shell colors and finishes to fit into your home’s décor. Choices include charcoal, sandstone, heather gray, oak veneer, walnut veneer, and silver. The all-new Echo available on pre-order for $99.99 and also on pre-order is the Echo Plus is $149.99. The Echo Connect is $34.99 and will be available later this year. Also being introduced is the all-new Echo Spot which features a stylish, compact design with a screen so Alexa can show you things for $129.99; and the all-new Amazon Fire TV with 4K and HDR for $69.99.