Amazon’s 8 new Alexa-powered devices to launch before the year’s end

Sep 21, 2018, 02:10
Amazon’s 8 new Alexa-powered devices to launch before the year’s end

Perhaps the intriguing of all, however, is the new Amazon Echo Sub as it signifies Amazon's intent to take on names like Sonos in the premium home audio space.

We expected it soon, but Amazon still managed to surprise us. The small disc-shaped speaker has "a brand new mic array that gives it better performance".

The smart plug seems a bit of an unnecessary addition to the range, given the Echo's compatibility with tonnes of existing identical products, made wider still by the Echo Plus with its Zigbee credentials.

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"We know that hands-free, far-field voice control is a major win for those of you who live in an Alexa household".

Now moving onto the more unfamiliar, the most interesting of which is the Echo Input: the first Echo device without a speaker. Echo Link will ship later this year and cost $200. On the device's sides under fabric wrapping, dual 2-inch Neodymium drivers and Dolby processing belt out tunes or streamed content.

Pre-order the $24.99 Amazon Smart Plug today; it will start shipping next month. If you have passive speakers, the Echo Link Amp adds "a built-in 60W 2-channel amplifier" to the equation.

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While the Echo Input allows users to make their existing speakers smart, by allowing them to be controlled by Alexa voice commands once connected. Background road noise, the sound of the radio, and other people talking can get in the way of Alexa understanding, hence the need to squeeze eight microphones inside. You can also adjust the speaker's equaliser settings within the Amazon Alexa mobile app.

The Echo Link is created to connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment. All of the devices will be powered by Alexa, meaning in-built voice assistant. That means you'll be able to use it to control smart devices that aren't Wi-Fi enabled, such as Philips Hue light bulbs.

And it's expanded its skillset in relation to streaming services, so you can ask Alexa to follow certain artists, say, and when they have a new album it will notify you. The fact that you get more than you did from the original Echo, but for less money, was hard to argue with, so we happily recommended it to everyone.

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Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon devices worldwide, said: "We want you to have access to Alexa everywhere - in your kitchen, in your living room, in your office, and more".

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