In a surprise media event this week, Amazon has announced a bunch of new Echo hardware, as well as a new Fire TV with 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos capabilities (via The Verge). The company showcased the increasing importance of Echo and Alexa at the event, highlighting its efforts to get its products in as many households and rooms as possible. Below is a brief rundown of Amazon’s new products:
New Amazon Echo
Amazon unveiled an all new Echo which features a new design and offers much better sound than the original, thanks to support for Dolby Audio. The product is clearly targeted at competing with Sonos Play:1 and Apple’s upcoming HomePod. Similar to Google Home, different swappable shells for the new Echo will also be available for purchase.
The new Echo costs US $99 and will be released on October 31, 2017.
Amazon Echo Plus
The tall, cylindrical Amazon Echo Plus looks like the original Echo but will double as a hub for the smart home. Amazon said it will work with 100 smart home products out of the box, allowing you to control your home’s lights, locks, cameras and more, without requiring an Apple TV or a SmartThings hub.
The Echo Plus is priced at US $149 and will be released on October 31, 2017.
Amazon Echo Spot
Possibly the most interesting of all is the new Echo Spot, which is basically a small, round version of the Echo Show and has its own 2.5-inch display that can provide visual information, such as the weather or a clock face. It also provides access to Alexa and has optional video-calling support.
The Echo Spot will cost US $129 when it ships in December.
New Amazon Fire TV Dongle
The new and improved Fire TV dongle supports 4K content and high-dynamic range (HDR) video with 2160p resolution at 60 frames per second. It also has Dolby Atmos integration and an Alexa voice remote.
The new Fire TV is available for preorder for US $69 and will release on October 25th.
The Amazon Echo Connect allows you to place phone calls to landlines or other contacts using your existing Amazon Echo units. The Echo already supports calling between Echos, but Connect acts more like an intercom system.
Amazon Echo Buttons
Amazon’s upcoming Echo Button devices will work with Amazon Echo devices. In one instance, Amazon showed how a family might play a game like “Trivial Pursuit” using the buttons to chime in for answers.
The buttons will cost $19.99 each once available.
Amazon also announced that Alexa will be coming to BMW cars starting next year, giving users full access to Alexa right from their dashboards no matter where they are.
Again, this new Echo line up is only available from Amazon.com and not available in Canada. But if you have an “Amerifriend” or a mail forwarding service, you could still acquire them with some work.