Amazon Echo comes to UK and Germany

echoukAmazon has announced that the Alexa, the Echo and the All-new Echo Dot are coming to the UK and Germany. The devices will be available in both black and white in the UK on September 28, 2016. The Echo will cost £149.99 and is now available for pre-order on the website. If you are a member of Amazon Prime in the UK you can pre-order until 5:00 PM on September 16 at the special price of £99.99. The Echo Dot sells for £49.99. There is more information at

In Germany, the Echo will sell for €179,99 and will be released on October 26, 2016. The Echo Dot retails for €59,99. According to the Amazon press release (via Google Translate), Prime members in Germany can request a €50 discount until September 16, 2016. There is more information on the Echo at

Up until now, Echos have only been sold in the United States and been tied to US accounts. There has been quite a bit of discussion in the past about when these would be available internationally. No one is sure yet exactly how this is going to work in terms of devices sharing accounts between different countries, but it seems like a lot of people are going to be very excited to find out! Press Release Press Release

The new Echo Dot: what’s changed from the original

bw_echoToday, Amazon confirmed yesterday’s rumors by releasing announcing a second generation Echo Dot. It is officially called the All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) and it retails for $49.99. Like the newly refreshed Amazon Echo, the new Dot will be available in both black and white and will be available on October 20, 2016.

The Dot is also being offered in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack” . The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The last iteration of the Echo Dot was $90 and could only be ordered by Prime members using either an Amazon Echo or a Fire TV remote. This generation’s model can be ordered online by anyone. Previous purchasers of the Echo Dot can use Alexa to order and get a $10 credit (restrictions apply).

So what’s different about the new model besides the price and the method of ordering?

  • The new Dot is smaller. Both devices have a  3.3″ diameter but is the new one is 1.3″ tall vs 1.5″ height of the original.
  • The new Dot weighs a couple of ounces less.
  • Original Dot included a four foot long 3.5mm stereo audio cable. That cable is an optional purchase for the new Dot.
  • The new Dot has ESP (Echo Spatial Perception), which calculates the clarity of the voice. The idea is that when more than one Alexa-enabled device is present, the device nearest you will respond. It may also help in noisy environments.
  • The original Dot had a rotary volume dial like the full size Echo. The 2nd generation has volume buttons similar to the Amazon Tap.
  • There does not seem to be a power indicator light on the 2nd generation.
  • There appear to be minor cosmetic differences (slashes instead of circles for mic holes and a slightly glossier finish for the 2nd generation).
  • The original came with a 1 year warranty. The 2nd generation only comes with a 90 day warranty.

Because the Echo Dot is designed to work with other devices, this morning, Amazon was offering some interesting bundles like an Echo Dot coupled with the Bose Soundlink Mini II. Interestingly, by this evening, those bundles were no longer being offered.

The lack of the 3.5mm cable surprised me. We use ours with a stereo that doesn’t have Bluetooth, so that cable for the AUX jack is really a necessity. And given the fact that some of the 1st generation Echo Dots had overheating problems, I would have much rather seen a 1 year warranty. Although, for $50, for some people, it may not matter.

Are you interested in one of the new devices?

Daily Links and Deals: It’s official — ebooks really are books and Euro tax could plummet

daily_links_1Today, news that the EU has finally (and sensibly) ruled that ebooks are actually books, paving the way to lower VAT prices. Also, a look at how New York City’s public WiFi is serving the poor, a new way for YouTube creators to interact with their followers and how one library is making itself a public space attraction. In deals, savings on Fossil bags and watches and a Panasonic bread machine. Also, new choices for the Amazon Echo and a new generation of the Echo Dot.

Daily Links for day, September 14, 2016:

Is New York City’s Public Wi-Fi Actually Connecting the Poor? (Motherboard) Part of the mission of LinkNYC is to address the digital divide. How’s it actually doing?

YouTube launches ‘Community’ in beta w/ a new tab for posting text, images, GIFs, and more (9 to 5 Google) Now content creators can engage with their followers directly.

It’s official — ebooks really are books and Euro tax could plummet (Roger Packer) This opens the door to slash the very high EU VAT on ebooks. (This story was in the Financial Times yesterday, but I won’t link to paywalled content.)

Shhhh…ake it off at the library, the new happening place to be (KUOW) How libraries are re-imagining themselves as public spaces.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth (The Good Earth Trilogy Book 1) by Pearl S. Buck.

In Today’s Deals, get 50% off Fossil watches, bags and more. Also, there’s a Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker with Yeast Dispenser, White.

Echo news:  Amazon has now released the Echo a second color. You can pre-order now to get it in white. It will be available on September 28, 2016. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99.  Amazon is offering some interesting bundles, like the one pairing a Echo Dot with the Bose Soundlink Mini II. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

Alexa and the Echo and the Echo Dot are also coming to the UK and later, Germany. See for details.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen. The Romance Daily Find is Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Big Thaw by Donald Harstad. The Extra Daily Deal is Mad Tinker Chronicles Collection by J.S. Morin.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until September 23, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.