Amazon also launched a new microwave oven under its AmazonBasics brand. The AmazonBasics Microwave comes with a dedicated button for Alexa
Amazon dropped as many as twelve products that expand the Echo line of Alexa-powered devices. Among the whole lot, the most notable devices are Echo Sub, AmazonBasics Microwave, and Amazon Fire TV Recast. At its Thursday event in Seattle, Amazon announced the refresh of its Echo line of speakers alongside introducing the new ones. Amazon also gave a makeover to the Echo Dot and Echo Plus speaker models along with improvements in their features and sound quality.
The Amazon Echo Dot now has a new design, only it’s old with some subtle changes here and there. The hockey puck-shaped speaker, which is the most-selling model in the Echo speaker lineup, now has rounded edges, more distinct buttons, and four far-field microphones. Amazon said that the sound quality on Echo Dot has been significantly improved, making it about 70 per cent louder than its prequel. The Bluetooth and AUX cable connectivity stay intact in the new model. It is available for pre-orders in India on Amazon.in and will be available at Rs 4,499. The release is scheduled to begin on October 11.
The Amazon Echo Plus is the top-end model in the non-screen speaker range. With Alexa at its core, the Echo Plus has the same design as the one launched last year except for the rounded curvatures on the top and bottom. Its size is also nearly the same. The sound on the Echo Plus has been optimised to belt out more powerful and bass-laden sound. The smart home hub is still an important part of the speaker. A new temperature sensor has been added to the new Echo Plus so that it can record temperatures at any given time – this will be useful when the temperature of the room goes low, Echo Plus will sense it and turn off the AC or fan (of course, these appliances have to connected to Echo Plus).
The new Echo Plus is available for pre-orders in India. Starting October 11, it will begin shipping at a price of Rs 14,999.
The next item Amazon announced at its event is the Echo Sub, which is essentially a subwoofer that will be at the centre of a home audio setup. Featuring a 100W subwoofer, the Echo Sub can be paired with up to two Echo devices to create a surround sound experience in the room. It is more bulbous when you compare it with the Echo Plus, except for the height which is marginally less. A similar fabric covers the body of the Echo Sub that has a six-inch subwoofer packed inside. Unlike the group-linking of Echo speakers previously, Echo Sub will create an audio setup – 1.1 when you connect one Echo speaker and 2.1 when you connect two.
In India, the Echo Sub costs Rs 12,999 and is available for pre-orders. The shipping, however, is scheduled to begin November 14.
Coming to the other devices, Amazon announced Echo Link and Echo Link Amp. Both are essentially stereo amplifiers that support multiple in and out audio sources. The Echo Link can be connected to an amplifier or receiver such as the stereo system while the Echo Link Amp comes with a built-in dual-channel 60W amplifier that you can use with other Echo speakers to listen to stereo music. There is no microphone in either so you cannot use them separately. Amazon hasn’t announced both the devices for India yet.
Amazon Echo Input was also announced at the event. It’s a microphone-equipped Echo Dot without speakers, so you can only use it to play voice-controlled (and app-controlled) music on big and high-quality speakers such as Bose. Amazon announced the Smart Plug is an electric plug that is controlled by Alexa. You can ask Alexa to turn on/off one using your voice. When you plug in an electronic device such as a refrigerator, Alexa will detect it and suggest naming the Smart Plug to ‘Refrigerator’ so that it is easily distinguishable from other Smart Plugs at your place.
Amazon also launched a new microwave oven under its AmazonBasics brand. The AmazonBasics Microwave comes with a dedicated button for Alexa. It is smart because the Alexa button can be pressed to tell her what’s been kept inside the oven so that she can manage the timing, temperature, and other things on her own. Amazon Echo Clock was also announced at the event. It doesn’t have microphones, which is why it needs to be connected with an Echo speaker. You can ask the Echo Clock to set timers, alarms, etc.
Amazon Echo Show has been revamped to include a bigger display. The new Echo Show comes with a 10-inch HD display, as opposed to the small, circular one available on the previous model. It comes with 8 microphones to listen to your voice from anywhere around. You can watch Prime Video shows, news bulletins from partner creators on the display, besides using it as a nightstand for time and date information. Amazon said the new Echo Show will come to India next year.
The next product is the Amazon Fire TV Recast, which is essentially a DVR controlled by Alexa. The Fire TV Recast can record live shows and make them available to play later on multiple devices such as your smartphone, TV, and more. It comes in two models – 500GB and 1TB. It requires the cable TV source to begin recording in HD, of course, triggered by your voice. Amazon also launched Ring Stick Up Cam and Echo Auto at the event. Echo Auto can be placed in a car to stream the music to your car speakers without having you touch the display or press any buttons to play music. Amazon also announced a bunch of new software enhancements with new features that will be available to the developers who will whittle them for use on Echo devices.