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?

Daily Links and Deals: Thanks in part to the election, ‘surreal’ is the word of the year

daily_links_1Daily Links for Tuesday, December 20,  2016:

This Alexa-enabled coffee pot isn’t great at making coffee, but dang it’s cute (The Verge)  Posted due to sheer cuteness factor. 🙂

New York City now lets you pay for parking with your phone (Engadget) I think that this means that the future has really arrived.

There are more Galaxy Note 7s still in use than LG V20 and OnePlus 3T combined (9 to 8 Google) A whole lot of Note 7 phones are still out there.

The state(s) of texting and driving in the US (Ars Technica) Our cell phones are now our maps and navigators. Even without texting, many are using their phones just to get where they are going. How do we deal with this going forward.

Thanks in part to the election, ‘surreal’ is the word of the year (USA Today) Personally, I found how they choose the word of the year more interesting than the word itself.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Rare Objects: A Novel by Kathleen Tessaro.

In Today’s DealsJumbl 22MP All-In-1 Film & Slide Scanner w/ Speed-Load Adapters for 35mm Negative & Slides, 110, 126, & Super 8 Films.

More device sales before the holidays! The Kindle Paperwhite is on sale for $20 off. There are also deals on Fire tablets: The Fire 7″for $40, the Fire tablet variety pack (3 tablets) for $180, the Fire HD 10 for $200 and the Fire Kids Edition for $90. There’s an All-New Fire HD 8 Variety Pack, 32GB with two devices (choice of colors) for $200.

Alexa devices: You can also get the Amazon Echo for $140 ($40 off), the Amazon Tap for $90 ($40 off) and the Echo Dot for $40 ($10 off.) All of the three of the Alexa devices are sold out until after Christmas. The sale is still on, so if you want one and are willing to wait, it is still a good deal.

You can still get 12 months of Kindle Unlimited for the special price of $88.99 – that’s $30 off the regular price.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The Romance Daily Find is Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories by Megan Hart, KK Hendin, Stacey Agdern, Jennifer Gracen.

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

The new NOOK Tablet is available and is only $49.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Hot Milk by Deborah Levy.  The Extra Daily Deal is Raylan A Novel by Elmore Leonard.

Until December 25th, the waterproof Kobo Aura H2O e-reader is on sale for $159.99 (with free shipping).

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 still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ iTunes’ Great Books, Amazing Deals under $3.99 includes Defender by Diana Palmer.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10. Through December 22nd, you can also rent various Harper Teen books for 24 hours for 99 cents.

(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.

Daily Links and Deals – Holiday Whodunnits for Book Lovers: The British Library’s Crime Classics

daily_links_1Daily Links for Wednesday, December 14,  2016:

The Wynn Las Vegas is putting an Amazon Echo in every hotel room (The Verge) I miss Alexa when I am not at home, but given the personal limitations and the privacy issues, I’m not too sure about this. Now, these Alexa enabled headphones, on the other hand….

Holiday Whodunnits for Book Lovers: The British Library’s Crime Classics (Publishers Weekly) The British Library is about a lot more than classics and medieval manuscripts.

Amazon starts Prime Air drone delivery trial in the UK — but only with two beta users (Techcrunch) And drone delivery is here – sort of….

Evernote’s new privacy rules may let its employees read your notes (Engadget) This is why I *always* recommend that you uncheck the box that says “allow us to use your data to improve our product”.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes a selection of Star Wars comics.

In Today’s Deals, up to 50% off Fossil Watches, bags, accessories, & more.

More device sales before the holidays! The Kindle Paperwhite is on sale for $20 off. There are also deals on Fire tablets: The Fire 7″for $40, the Fire tablet variety pack (3 tablets) for $180, the Fire HD 10 for $200 and the Fire Kids Edition for $90.

Alexa devices: You can also get the Amazon Echo for $140 ($40 off), the Amazon Tap for $90 ($40 off) and the Echo Dot for $40 ($10 off.)

You can still get 12 months of Kindle Unlimited for the special price of $88.99 – that’s $30 off the regular price.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (Jane Austen Series #12) by Stephanie Barron. The Romance Daily Find is Holiday Wishes by Nora Roberts.

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

The new NOOK Tablet is available and is only $49.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Christmas Caramel Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery Book 20) by Joanne Fluke. The Extra Daily Deal is The Ghosts Omnibus One by Jonathan Moeller.

Until December 25th, the waterproof Kobo Aura H2O e-reader is on sale for $159.99 (with free shipping).

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 still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ iTunes’ Great Books, Amazing Deals under $3.99 includes Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10. Through December 22nd, you can also rent various Harper Teen books for 24 hours for 99 cents.

(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.

Daily Links and Deals: 5 things to think about before buying your child a cell phone for Christmas

daily_links_1Daily Links for day, December 13,  2016:

Amazon Alexa, HCCP Collaborate on Daily Devotionals (Publishers Weekly) Harper Christian Publishing now has an Alexa skill for daily inspirational audio clips.

Apple’s release of the Airpods isn’t going very well (Quartz) What’s the hang up? Technical glitches? Supply issues? These sold out in minutes and won’t be back until mid-January.

BBC & ITV to launch BritBox streaming video service in US in 2017 (Liliputing) Oh, dear. With my British TV addiction, I am never going to get anything done…..

6 ways to bring your Wi-Fi signal into 2017 (The Next Web) Good tips for getting the most out of your Wi-Fi.

This tech generates realistic avatars from a single selfie (The Verge) Whoa! This is pretty amazing!

5 things to think about before buying your child a cell phone for Christmas (CNN) Really good article about what to think about before you give your kids a cell phone.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Oreo (New Directions Paperbook) by Fran Ross.

In Today’s DealsBÖHM Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is having a NOOK Bundles Sale: Choose from over 100 eBook bundles—fiction favorites, swoon-worthy romance, epic fantasy & more—starting at $1.99 each. The Romance Daily Find is Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase.

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

The new NOOK Tablet is available and is only $49.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Cold In The Shadows (Cold Justice Book 5) by Toni Anderson.  The Extra Daily Deal is Sister: A Novel
by Rosamund Lupton.

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 still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ iTunes’ Great Books, Amazing Deals under $3.99 includes The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10. Through December 22nd, you can also rent various Harper Teen books for 24 hours for 99 cents.

(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.

Daily Links and Deals – Reminder: That selfie you want to take in the voting booth could be illegal

daily_links_1Daily Links for Monday, November 7,  2016:

Here we go again: Microsoft’s popping up ads from the Windows 10 toolbar (PC World) Can Microsoft stop with this already? I am also getting these.

The guy that added Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ to a singing fish is the hero we all need (The Next Web) Warning: You cannot unsee this….

Reminder: That selfie you want to take in the voting booth could be illegal (Recode) This article links to a handy chart that tells you the laws (or lack thereof) in each state.

Google tries basing its search index around mobile websites  (Engadget) Now that mobile visits are outnumbering desktop hits, Google is testing a mobileifirst algorithm.

E-Books Success – Can Amazon Kindle? (Tech Featured) Here’s a fun guessing game: Can we extrapolate the estimated number of ebooks Amazon sill sell based on the five years of iTunes sales?

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes several cookbooks: The Big Book of Casseroles: 250 Recipes for Serious Comfort Food by Maryana Vollstedt and Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever with More Than 400 Easy-to-Make Recipes by Diane Phillips, James Baigrie.

In Today’s DealsThe Hunger Games: Complete 4 Film Collection [Blu-ray + Digital HD]. It is also available in DVD format.

Been thinking about an buying an Echo? Get one on sale today for $10 off.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard. The Romance Daily Find is Sarah’s Garden by Kelly Long.

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

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Calendar Girl: Volume One by Audrey Carlan. The Extra Daily Deal is War Dogs (Book 1) by Greg Bear.

You can buy 2, get 1 free and save on Fern Michaels’ holiday romance titles until November 30.

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 still out of stock.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.

Google Books has a selection of Big Deals.

(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.

Daily Links and Deals: Libro.fm Audiobooks Now Available in 150 Indie Bookstores

daily_links_1Daily Links for Tuesday, October 25,  2016:

Celebrating 20 Years of the Internet Archive with an Open Library Feature Bonanza (Open Library) I can personally attest to the fact that using the Open Library was sometimes a challenging experience. This is welcome news.

Readers in 9 Countries Get Discounts on Arabic E-books for Emirates’ ‘Year of Reading’ (Oye! Times) This is only available in limited countries, but the discounts can be up to 90%.

Website Creating Company Faces Data Breach Affecting Over 40 Million Users (BloombergBNA) Weebly was attacked in February and over 43 million users’ info was exposed.

Logitech to release an Alexa skill for its Harmony Hub-based universal remote controls (Techhive) This is the capability that I have been waiting for!

Libro.fm Audiobooks Now Available in 150 Indie Bookstores (Digital Book World) Now you can buy audiobooks from your favorite indie bookstore.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes

In Today’s DealsCorel WordPerfect Office X8 Home & Student.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is 50% off today on the first eight books in Sui Ishida’s fan-favorite Tokyo Ghoul series. The Romance Daily Find is Claimed: An Outlaws Novel by Elle Kennedy.

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

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Sandstorm (Sigma Force Novels) by James Rollins. The Extra Daily Deal is The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Tea Obreht.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

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 November 1, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty.

Google Books has a selection of Halloween Horror Sale with chills & thrills under $5.

(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.

Amazon announces all-new Fire HD 8 tablet

new_fire_8For the last few weeks,the Fire 8 HD tablet has been sold out on Amazon. Today, Amazon announced an all-new version of the Fire 8 HD tablet. The new version is cheaper, too: $89.99 compared to $149.99 (with special offers). The new Fire promises to incorporate Alexa digital voice assistant from the Echo line of products into the Fire 8. According to Amazon’s website, other products in the fire line will be also receiving the Alexa update in the future .

The new device has a faster processing speed, more storage, an SD slot increased battery life and features a 1200 by 800 189 PPI resolution screen. You can find more specs listed here.

I ordered one of these for myself to give it a try. I have an aging Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet which I have been thinking of replacing. Like the Fire 8 HD, the Note 8 also has a 189 ppi resolution screen and I frequently use it for reading Scribd and Pocket articles. I bought one of the $50 fire 7 tablets last year and found the 171 ppi resolution bad enough that, with my vision problems, I won’t use it for reading. The 189 ppi screen is the minimum I find acceptable for reading.

Personally, my ideal would be an Alexa update for my favorite Fire tablet, the Fire HD 6. The HD 6 has a 252 ppi screen resolution that makes for really enjoyable reading experience on a tablet. There’s no word yet on whether that model will receive the update that incorporates the Alexa features. Amazon has had an ongoing price reduction on the HD 6, so they could be clearing stock for a new version. You can pick up an HD 6 for $69.99.

The new devices will be released on September 21, 2016. Like the other Fire tablets, it comes in four color options: Black, blue, magenta and tangerine.  Amazon is offering a payment plan for the new device where you can pay in 5 monthly payments of $18. 🙂

And, for you fellow case fashionistas, I am already checking into the case/cover situation and will have an update soon.

What about you? Is a new Fire tablet on your radar?