Amazon announced updates to its entire line-up of Echo smart speakers, aka the Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock and Echo, at its annual fall hardware event last night alongside the all-new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite. The Echo, in its fourth generation, is a spherical orb now with its hallmark LED light ring at the base. There are enhancements to sound and power consumption as well.
The standard Echo is getting the biggest update this year in that it is no longer “standard” in Amazon’s Echo range. It is in fact the highest-end model now combining the “best of Echo” with the Zigbee smart home capabilities of the Echo Plus. It is not immediately clear if Amazon is discontinuing the Echo Plus, though it surely looks like it.
Another big highlight of the Echo is that it debuts Amazon’s AZ1 Neural Edge processor designed to speed up responses by locally (or on-device) processing voice commands through machine learning before sending them to the cloud, though it will initially only support English and will be limited to the US market.
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Apart from its updated design and smarts, Amazon says the fourth-generation Echo should sound “significantly” better too. This is in part due to its Echo Studio-like adaptive audio credentials that allow it to automatically sense the environment and deliver the best possible sound. The Echo comes with a 3.0-inch woofer and dual-firing tweeters for stereo output.
As for the Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, again, we are looking at a similar ball-shaped design which (finally) brings a sense of consistency to Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. Not a lot is changing under the hood though, which means that the Echo Dot is still the most affordable Echo while the Echo Dot with Clock is simply the Echo Dot with a built-in LED display.
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All the newly announced Echo speakers will support Amazon’s Low Power Mode for energy savings. In addition, the Echo Dot with Clock’s tap-to-snooze feature will soon arrive on the Echo Dot and Echo.
The Echo Dot has been launched in India at a price of Rs 4,499. The Echo Dot with Clock for Rs 5,499. And the Echo for Rs 9,999. Only the Echo Dot has shipping window for now. It is now available for pre-order and will start shipping from October 26. Amazon is yet to announce pre-order and availability details for the Echo and Echo Dot with Clock.