Amazon announces new Echo devices (and they are pretty neat!)

When Amazon recently started dropping prices on their line of Echo devices, rumors started to fly that new devices were in the works. The speculation ended today when Amazon held a surprise hardware event and announced a number of new devices in the Echo and Alexa families, as well as a new Fire TV and some interesting Alexa integrations and enhancements.

All-new Echo

All-new Echo (2nd Generation) – $99.99

The new device is smaller than the original Echo (almost half the size). It features an improved sound system with a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter powered by Dolby. The second generation far-field recognition also improves upon the microphones.

The new Echos offer more decorating options and will now come in 6 color and finish choices: A Silver finish, three fabric finishes (Charcoal, Heather Gray and Sandstone) and two wood finishes (Oak and Walnut).

Amazon is also featuring a limited time offer to save $50 on a three-pack of the All-new Echo. You can three devices for $250 (details are here).

You can pre-order an All-new Echo (2nd Generation) here. This item will be released on October 31, 2017.

Echo Plus 

Echo Plus –  $149.99

The Echo Plus is the size of the original Echo and has enhanced capabilities for smart-home integration and the ability to act as a smart home hub. For a limited time, you can get a Philips Hue Bulb included with the purchase of an Echo Plus..

The Echo Plus also has the same new sound enhancements as the All-New Echo. The device is available in 3 colors: black, silver and white.

You can pre-order an Echo Plus here. This item will be released on October 31, 2017.

Echo Spot

Echo Spot – $129.99

The Echo Spot is like a cute baby version of the Echo Show. Its size makes it ideal for an alarm clock and you can personalize it by choosing from a collection of available clock faces. Like the Echo Dot, the Spot has built-in speakers, but also can connect to an external speaker via bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio cable.

You can pre-order an Echo Spot here. This item will be released on December 19, 2017.

Echo Connect  

Echo Connect – (requires Echo device) – $34.99

This is the device that I am probably the most excited about. It offers the ability to make your landline phone hands-free for making and receiving calls, including 911 and international calls. An Echo device is required for the Connect to work.

You can pre-order an Echo Connect here. This item will be released on December 13, 2017.

All-New Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player

All-New Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player – ($69.99)

The All-New Fire TV offers 4K Ultra HD streaming at up to 60 fps, HDR, and Dolby Atmos audio. Unlike the still available Fire TV stick, this new 4K device is a Chromecast-style dongle.

You can pre-order the All-new Fire TV here. The Fire TV also comes in two bundles, the Fire TV with Echo Dot ($79.99) and the Fire TV and HD Antenna ($74.99). These items will be released on October 25, 2017.

Echo Buttons

Echo Buttons – (No release date set). Echo Buttons are new items in a series called Alexa Gadgets. Echo Buttons are a new way for customers to play games with friends and family using Alexa-enabled devices. These will come in a two-pack and are expected to arrive in time for the holidays. There is no firm release date for these yet, but you can sign up to be notified about them here.

Other Alexa news:

Alexa integration with BMW

Okay, hold on! Alexa is going to be integrated into select models of BMW and Minis over the next year. This is not just an app, but actual integration of the Alexa AI into the cars.You’ll be able to listen to music, news and utilize third-party apps to do things like order Starbucks. 🙂 More details in the press release here.

Alexa Routines

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say one command and have Alexa do a series of things?  Well, starting next month, that’s exactly what she will be able to do.

According to Amazon’s press release,

Routines 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 at 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, and will be available for all Alexa devices including the all-new Echo, the previous generation Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus starting next month.

Alexa Billy Bass

Remember that story from last year where somebody hacked a Billy Bass talking fish and put Alexa into it? Well, either Amazon liked the idea or somebody over there has a good sense of humor because, sure enough, there is going to be an official Amazon version of Billy Bass. Rumor has it that it will be available for the holiday season gift giving. Hey, it’s better than a lump of coal, right?

What do you think of the new devices?

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