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Amazon’s hardware event came with a few surprises this year but with a lot more innovations including a device that can link other devices to enhance the Internet of Things (IoT) in the immediate environment.
Amazon yesterday unveiled quite a lot of new updates to the Echo and a few new addons as well. A few new commands to Alexa were also featured and the new option of having a celebrity voice came on as well.
Amazon outdid themselves this time with more versions of Echo than you’d expect. Another interesting feature is the echo show which functions as more like a glowing orb which changes colors according to the beat of any music playing in the background. This among other things made the hardware event one of the most exciting technology marketing events to occur this year.
Various Versions of Echo Make the Cut
Amazon’s Echo got a few major upgrades this year with a few different upgrades. The Echo dot now comes with a clock with a $10 improvement to the original $59. The new dot can of course function as a timer and can also function as a countdown timer as well which is pretty cute for a standalone speaker.
The Echo studio, of course, is the new kid on the block and comes packed with quite a lot of features. A direct competitor to Googles’ Nest max and Apples’ Homepod, the Studio comes with 3-dimensional audio and supports Dolby Atmos. It also comes packed with a 52.5-inch woofer which faces downwards, a 1-inch front-facing and booming tweeter, 3 two-inch medium speakers which sound out in random directions. Priced at $199 this most definitely stole the show as far as sound is concerned.
Though the echo show is smaller than its predecessor at 8 inches rather than 10 inches, it is slightly bigger than the first echo show and comes with a microphone for video calls over wifi. It can be used for just about anything as well. The echo show has a price tag of $130.
The Echo flex is a standalone speaker which can be placed anywhere and is linked with Alexa via a small inbuilt speaker for various commands. Though it is not the best for playing music and other surround sound audio, it still packs a punch with its built-in USB port which can be used to charge just about anything. It also comes with a motion sensor for detecting intruders and other unwanted movements around the house and a smart nightlight for the kids. It is priced around $25 which is quite affordable for having an extra standalone device around the house.
The Echo glow is a curious device which just glows as the name suggests but it can spice up whatever environment it is placed in. The great thing about it is that it has quite the kaleidoscope of colors and this makes it an interesting device to have around. For $30 you can have a device that doesn’t quite do anything but means everything once you get to watch it for a while of course.
The much-awaited Echo buds have also been introduced to Amazon and it takes Alexa everywhere you go with all the healthy options you may want and it still makes the cut as an Apple airpod competitor at $129. It is completely wireless but does have interesting features such as five hours of music, four hours of talk time and a 3-charge case. It can also access other assistants on your smartphone such as the iPhone’s Siri and Google’s Voice assistant on the go as well.
Amazon Goes Beta with Invite-only Hardware Devices
Amazon has decided to introduce a beta program where selected users can try out new hardware before anyone else. Such devices this year include the echo glasses with four speakers which you can use to talk to Alexa while you work or play. It is priced at $179.99.
The Alexa smart ring is another interesting device which you can use for talking to Alexa or taking a call during a meeting or appointment. It comes with two microphones and is already referred to at Amazon as the echo loop. It is priced at $129.99.
Other new hardware introduced include the new area router which can shut off wifi using your voice. It goes for $99 or $249 in a three-piece set.
Amazon’s hardware shows won’t be complete without its smart ovens and the new June oven does just about everything. The new ring cams experienced a makeover with the Stickup cam being priced lower at $99 and its elite version at $199.
The indoor wired cam comes at a price tag of $60.
Alexa Gets Major Upgrades
Alexa has had quite a few upgrades which will work out in the long term as Amazon seeks to protect its space. Amazon has gone multilingual with English and Spanish in the USA, French, and English in Canada and Hindi added in India.
Alexa has also become more emotional in her expressions as new deep learning techniques have been added. Samuel L. Jackson’s voice going for 99 cents as an addon. Other Celebrity voices will be available soon. General Motors is already in partnership with Alexa to bring in new products to their cars in various models.
Scan-to-cook also comes to echo show and is used to cook food on the fly using barcodes. Certified for humans is a new badge to be introduced on the safest Amazon products. Alexa Guard listens now to just about anything.
Alexa can also replenish everything Amazon in the home from low supplies to batteries.
A new feature which enhances the Internet of Things Services within the local environment is Alexa fetch. Using the 900 Mhz Spectrum, it can connect everything that isn’t linking due to terrestrial interference, noise or just distance.
Amazon has been able to cross the rubicon this time. Their devices may just be found in every middle-class home. Little wonder that they are still the technology king of retail sales.
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