[Update 1: Indian Pricing] Here are all the Echo and Alexa announcements Amazon made today
Amazon’s ecosystem has become amazingly powerful as of the past few years, and the company, which used to be a simple online retailer, is now fiercely competing toe-to-toe with Google in the AI market space. Amazon’s Echo line of AI smart home devices, which compete with Google’s Google Home line, is considerably more successful than its competitors in the same marketplace. And all of these devices are powered by the Amazon Alexa assistant, which is a direct competitor to–you guessed it–Google Assistant.
Ahead of the Made by Google event, where Google is expected to launch new smart home products alongside the Pixel 4/Pixel 4 XL, Amazon held a hardware event of its own. The company announced renewed Echo devices and a lot more. The company is focused on bringing their AI to most aspects of your life, and with its newest hardware, they’re trying to make your life a lot easier.
Among these, there is a new model of the Echo Dot. Amazon isn’t exactly calling this one a second-generation Dot, as it is pretty much the same as the regular Echo Dot, just adding an LED display which can display the clock, alarms, and more, allowing you to check the time without asking Alexa for it. The unsurprisingly named “Echo Dot with Clock” will retail at $59.99.
There is also an even smaller Echo Flex, which is the smallest Echo speaker yet. It plugs directly into a wall outlet and can be combined with other accessories. The Echo Flex will retail at $24.99 and accessories will go for $15.
Of course, Amazon is also renewing its regular Echo, improving, this time, on the speaker quality. The third generation of the Echo has an all-new, improved sound system which sounds stronger and clearer, sporting the same audio architecture as the Echo Plus, all while keeping the same $99.99 price tag as the previous model.
There is also an Echo Studio, which serves as the first high-end, premium smart speaker from Amazon and sports Dolby Atmos’ 3D audio surround sound as well as built-in Alexa microphones to calibrate the Echo Studio to any room you put it into. The Echo Studio will retail at a heftier $199.99 price tag and it’s now available for preorder.
Amazon is also launching their own set of wireless earbuds called the Echo Buds, which will be powered by Alexa and will allow you to use voice commands on-the-go, hands-free. They’re now available for preorder at $129.99. Additionally, the company is now launching an 8-inch version of the Echo Show–their smart display offering–called the Echo Show 8, which will serve as a middle option between the 5-inch Echo Show and the 10-inch Echo Show. This one will retail for $129.99 and will complement the other two Echo Show options, which will retain their same price tag.
There is also a number of, shall we call them, “weirder” devices that Amazon is launching under the Echo branding and putting Alexa in the back seat of all of them. Among these, we can find the Echo Loop, which is a smart ring that nudges you with vibrations, as well as Echo Frames, which are, you guessed it, glasses frames powered by Alexa. There is also an Amazon Smart Oven, which succeeds last year’s Alexa powered microwave and it’s capable of microwaving, convection cooking, air frying, and more. And of course, it has Alexa.
- Amazon Echo Glow ($29.99)
- Amazon eero (from $99)
- Ring Alarm Retrofit Kit (from $199)
- Ring Stick Up cam ($99.99)
- Ring Indoor cam ($59.99)
- Amazon Smart Oven ($249.99)
- Amazon Echo Frames ($179.99)
- Amazon Echo Loop ($129.99)
Of course, all of these new Echo devices can’t be complete without updates to the underlying AI system behind all of them, Amazon Alexa. Alexa is getting a slew of new features and improvements in order to try to make it more conversational. It’s getting a multilingual mode, which allows it to speak multiple languages at the same time–Spanish and English in the case of the U.S, French, and English in the case of Canada, and Hindi and English in the case of India.
Alexa will also be able to detect frustration: if you get frustrated with Alexa getting something wrong, it will be able to adjust its tone accordingly. Lastly, Alexa is also getting a number of celebrity voices for its text-to-speech engine, starting with Samuel L. Jackson’s voice. These celebrity voices will have a price tag starting at $0.99 this year.
Phew. What do you think about Amazon’s new offerings?
Update 1: Indian pricing and availability of new Amazon Echo products
Amazon has announced that some of the newly launched products will also be made available in India.
The Amazon Echo 3rd Generation will be available for a price of ₹9,999 ($140); the Echo Studio will be available for a price of ₹22,999 ($325); while the Echo Dot with clock will be available for a price of ₹5,499 ($78). The devices are available for pre-order on Amazon.in and select offline stores, with shipping expected to begin later this year. Customers who pre-order can avail of a smart bulb for free and a smart plug for ₹199.