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Thursday, September 20, 2018
Amazon Announces New Echo Devices, New Alexa Features


Today, Amazon introduced a new line-up of Echo devices, Echo companion devices, and Amazon smart home devices, making it even easier to bring the features of Alexa to any room and now, to the car.

New Echo devices include:

  • New Echo Dot: Now with a new speaker for louder and crisper sound, an updated fabric design, priced at $49.99

  • New Echo Plus: A simple way to start your smart home with a built-in Zigbee hub, plus an upgraded speaker and a new design, for $149.99. With its built-in Zigbee smart home hub, the Echo Plus makes setting up compatible smart home devices easy. Just say, "Alexa, discover my devices," and Echo Plus will automatically discover and setup compatible lights, locks, sensors, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps. Echo Plus now includes an embedded temperature sensor, so you can set temperature-based routines using other smart home devices.

With Wi-Fi simple setup, you can automatically connect compatible smart devices to your Wi-Fi network and Alexa in a few steps. All you need to do is power on the smart device and it will recognize and connect your device to your Wi-Fi network using a Wi-Fi password that you have saved in your Wi-Fi Locker. Wi-Fi simple setup is available with new Echo devices, the new Amazon Smart Plug, and the AmazonBasics Microwave.

Echo Plus has a larger 3" neodymium woofer and increased back volume so that the bass feels stronger. It also features an all-new fabric design and is available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone.

  • New Echo Show: An all-new design, upgraded speaker, a 10-inch HD display, and a built-in smart home hub, plus all the Alexa features for $229.99.
    Echo Auto: Bring the power of Alexa to your car, now available by invitation

New Echo companion devices include:

  • Echo Wall Clock: Connects to your Echo device to visually enhance timers, alarms and reminders for $29.99
  • Echo Input: Add Alexa to your existing speaker for $34.99
  • Echo Sub: Add bass to music playback on Echo devices for $129.99
  • Echo Link: Connects to your home stereo system to stream high-fidelity music for $199.99
  • Echo Link Amp: A 60W, 2-channel built-in amplifier to stream high-fidelity music to active or passive speakers for $299.99

New smart home devices include:

  • AmazonBasics Microwave: A compact countertop microwave that connects to your Echo device to make cooking easier for $59.99
  • Amazon Smart Plug: Control compatible lights, fans, coffee makers, and more for $24.99

Echo Auto- Available by Invitation for $24.99

Echo Auto (amazon.com/echoauto) is an easy way to add the power of Alexa to your car or truck. With an eight-microphone array designed for in-car acoustics and speech recognition technology, Echo Auto lets Alexa hear you over music, A/C, and road noise. The device is powered by your car's 12V power outlet or USB port, and connects to your stereo system through a 3.5 mm audio jack or Bluetooth connection. It connects to Alexa through the Alexa app on your smartphone and uses your existing phone plan to access a range of features such as music, navigation, calling, and more.

With Echo Auto in your car or truck, just ask Alexa to hear your morning news, listen to an Audible book on your commute, get the latest traffic updates, and more. You can also set a routine that turns on your lights when you pull into the driveway, set reminders to pick up your dry cleaning, add errands to your to-do list and check them off when they're complete, build your shopping list or manage your calendar-all while your eyes stay on the road.

Echo Wall Clock - See Timers at a Glance - $29.99

Echo Wall Clock helps keep you and your family organized at home. Use your voice to start a timer with your compatible Echo device and see how much time is remaining on your clock. The 60 LED ring can display multiple timers for cooking, countdown to a family event, and show visual animations for alarms and reminders to keep you on schedule. The 10-inch battery powered clock connects to your Echo via Bluetooth, automatically syncs to the correct time, and is a perfect companion for the kitchen, family room, home office, or any room in your home with a compatible Echo device.

Echo Input-Add Alexa to your own Speaker - $34.99

Echo Input lets you add Alexa to your existing speaker. Echo Input connects to your speaker through a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth, and features a four-microphone array so you can talk to Alexa from across the room. Echo Input is just 12.5mm tall, so it blends easily into every room. Unlike Echo Dot which has a built-in speaker, all audio is played through the connected speaker rather than through Echo Input itself. When connected to Echo Input, your speaker can be added to a new or existing multi-room music group. Echo Input will be available in black and white.

Echo Sub $129.99

Echo Sub is the first wireless Echo subwoofer for those who want to pump up the bass when listening to music on their existing or new Echo devices. You can connect Echo Sub to compatible Echo devices to create a 1.1 or 2.1 pairing for stereo sound. Plus, with the equalizer feature you can adjust the bass, mid-range, and treble of the pairing simply by using your voice.

Echo Link and Echo Link Amp-Stream High-Fidelity Music to your Speakers or Stereo System -$199.99 and $299.99

Echo Link and Echo Link Amp (amazon.com/echolinkamp) are for music lovers who want to use Alexa to stream music to their existing audio equipment.

Echo Link is an audio component that connects to your high-fidelity stereo system to stream music services. Echo Link includes analog, optical, coax, headphone 3.5mm, and subwoofer line-outs; and analog, optical, and coax line-ins. It has a volume knob for granular control, an Ethernet port for reliable connectivity, and support for multi-room music through Alexa.

Echo Link Amp is Echo Link with a built-in 60W, 2-channel amplifier. Additionally it has left-right speaker binding post outputs to support wiring directly to passive and non-powered speakers.

Both Echo Link and Echo Link Amp can be controlled through the Alexa app or another Echo device in your home.

Amazon Smart Plug-Just $24.99

With the Amazon Smart Plug, use your voice to control your lights, fans, coffee maker, and more. The Amazon Smart Plug is the first Wi-Fi smart plug to use Wi-Fi simple setup, making it easy to start - and expand - your smart home with connected devices. All you need is a compatible Alexa-enabled device like Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablet, Sonos One, or even just the Alexa app on your phone to get started. From there, set a routine that turns your lights on at 6:00am and your lights off at 10:00pm; and with multiple Amazon Smart Plugs, you can control multiple outlets.

Availability

Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Sub are available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping next month. Echo Auto is available by invitation and will start shipping later this year.

Echo Wall Clock, Echo Input, and Echo Link will be available later this year, and Echo Link Amp will be available in early 2019. You can sign up today to be notified when they are available.

AmazonBasics Microwave is available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping later this year. Amazon Smart Plug is available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping next month.

New Echo Show-Better Sound. Bigger Screen.

Today Amazon announced the next generation of Echo Show: the new Echo Show has a 10-inch HD display, a built-in smart home hub, and an upgraded speaker system that delivers powerful bass and stereo sound-and it's still $229.99.

The screen is complemented by dual, side-firing 2" Neodymium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing.

New integrations with Hulu and NBC will make live TV viewing and on-demand streaming available on Echo Show.

Cooking with Alexa makes the all-new Echo Show even more useful in the kitchen. Simply ask Alexa for step-by-step cooking instructions from Kitchen Stories, Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52, TheKitchn and SideChef.

The new Echo Show will have a two-way talk feature that works with Ring and August doorbell cameras. When the doorbell rings or motion is detected by the security camera, just say "Alexa, answer the front door" to see and talk to whoever is there without having to open the door. Additionally, you can now have Alexa play a chime and make an announcement when someone rings your Ring and August doorbell cameras. You can also use Alexa Routines to play custom announcements when the front door camera detects movement or someone rings the doorbell.

With a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, Echo Show makes it simple to start your smart home. Just say, "Alexa, discover my devices" to automatically discover and setup compatible light bulbs, plugs and switches without the need for additional hubs or apps. Once set-up, ask Alexa to turn on the lights or use the touch-screen to turn devices on and off.

The new Echo Show has a built-in, 5 MP camera that supports high-definition video calling.

Echo Show has a built-in web browser that can be opened by saying, "Alexa, open Silk" or "Alexa, open Firefox." Once open, you can use the on-screen keyboard to type a URL and visit your favorite website.

Echo Show is still only $229.99. Echo Show will also have an accompanying stand that will allow you to tilt the Echo Show to adjust the viewing and camera angles for only $29.99. Both are available for pre-order starting today at amazon.com/echoshow and will begin shipping next month.

Fire TV Recast a DVR

Amazon also announced Fire TV Recast, a new companion DVR that lets you watch, record, and replay free over-the-air TV programming on Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet, iOS, and Android devices. Connect Fire TV Recast to a HDTV antenna (sold separately) for instant access to free over-the-air TV content available in your area, such as live shows, local news, sports, and more from channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and The CW - all with no monthly fees.

Place Fire TV Recast and a HDTV antenna anywhere in your home, and all of your compatible devices will automatically connect, giving you immediate access to local over-the-air TV programming. Available in two models, Fire TV Recast allows you to record up to four shows at once, and stream to any two compatible devices at a time. Advanced wireless technology automatically optimizes the use of bandwidth on your local network, delivering the best HD picture quality possible-even when streaming across multiple devices in a congested Wi-Fi environment.

In addition, you can now take your over-the-air shows with you on-the-go. Use the all-new Fire TV companion app for Fire TV Recast to watch live and recorded content over Wi-Fi or when connected to a cellular network. Mobile streaming for Fire TV Recast is available on all compatible mobile devices with no extra monthly charges or subscription fees.

When connected to a Fire TV streaming media player or a Fire TV Edition TV, your favorite live, recorded, and streaming content is all in one place. You can use the 'On Now' row to view what's currently airing, or the Channel Guide and 'DVR' tab to search for live shows, manage recordings, and view up to two weeks of programming. Plus, live TV listings from Prime Video Channels and PlayStation Vue are integrated directly into your 'On Now' row and Channel Guide-right alongside your local over-the-air content.

With Alexa on Fire TV or Echo Show, it's easy to control Fire TV Recast with your voice and quickly get to the programs you want.

Fire TV Recast is available for pre-order in the United States beginning September 20 and will begin shipping on November 14. It is available in two models: a 2-tuner model with 500GB of storage that allows you to record up to 2 shows at once and holds up to 75 hours of HD programming for $229.99, and a 4-tuner model with 1TB of storage that allows you to record up to 4 shows at once and holds up to 150 hours of HD programming for $279.99.

Smarter Alexa

Alongside a new lineup of Echo devices, Amazon today introduced new Alexa features. New capabilities include entertainment features like left-right stereo pairing, TIDAL, and Amazon Music New Release Notifications; productivity features like email management, step-by-step cooking, and location-based Routines; smart home and home monitoring features like Alexa Guard, Hunches, and Local Voice Control; and FreeTime on Alexa features like kid-focused Routines, podcasts, new skills, and more.

Alexa Guard

Alexa can help keep your home safe when you're away with Alexa Guard-just say, "Alexa, I'm leaving" to activate Guard. When you enable Guard, Alexa can send you Smart Alerts about the sound of glass-breaking, smoke detectors, or carbon monoxide alarms detected in your home. Alexa can also intuitively turn lights on and off to help deter intruders using Away Lighting and can integrate with alarm systems from Ring and ADT to keep your home safe. This feature will be available on select Echo devices later this year.

Hunches

As you interact with your smart home, Alexa learns more about your day-to-day usage and can sense when connected smart devices such as lights, locks, switches, and plugs are not in the state that you prefer. For example, if your living room light is on when you say "Alexa, good night," Alexa will respond with "Good night. By the way, your living room light is on. Do you want me to turn it off?" This feature will be available later this year.

Frustration Free Setup

Amazon is rolling out Wi-Fi simple setup so consumers can connect smart devices to their Wi-Fi network and Alexa by simply using their voice or scanning a barcode on the back of their smart device using the Alexa app. Wi-Fi simple setup is initially available with new Echo devices, the new Amazon Smart Plug, and AmazonBasics Microwave. Additional devices will be added in the future.

Local Voice Control

When there's an internet outage, or if you're in an area with unreliable internet connection, Local Voice Control allows you to still use your voice to control lights, plugs, and switches that are connected to an Echo device with a built-in smart home hub, such as the all-new Echo Plus or all-new Echo Show.

Video Doorbell

In the coming weeks, Echo Show devices will have a 2-way talk feature that works with Ring and August doorbell cameras. When the doorbell rings or motion is detected by the security camera, just say "Alexa, answer the front door" to see and talk to whoever is there without having to open the door. Additionally, Alexa will be able to play a chime and make an announcement when someone rings your Ring and August doorbell cameras. You can also use Alexa Routines to play custom announcements when the front door camera detects movement or someone rings the doorbell.

New Alexa Routines

Customize your daily routine more than ever before through adding location-based Alexa Routines that trigger when you leave or arrive at home or work. Plus add timed delays in between Alexa Routine actions; add time-limited music; and add temperature and motion based Alexa Routines that trigger when the temperature in a room is too high or too low, or when motion is detected.

Location-Based Reminders

You can set reminders to trigger when you leave or arrive at home or work. Simply say, "Alexa, remind me to take the chicken out when I get home," and when you arrive, Alexa will automatically speak the reminder and send a notification to your phone.

Cook with Alexa

Cooking with Alexa makes Echo devices even more useful in the kitchen. Simply ask Alexa for step-by-step cooking instructions from Kitchen Stories, Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52, TheKitchn, and SideChef. Say "Alexa, let's start cooking," and Alexa will walk you step-by-step through your favorite recipe.

Multi-step Requests

Ask Alexa to do multiple things at once within one request. For example, add several items to your shopping list by saying "Alexa, add bananas, paper towels, and cat food to my shopping list;" or turn the Echo volume up and start a playlist by saying, "Alexa, play Pandora at volume 8."

Email Integration

If you need to manage your personal inbox but aren't able to sit with your computer or smartphone, all you need to do is ask Alexa to check and reply to email through Gmail, Outlook.com, and Hotmail.com. Simply link your email in your Alexa app and say, "Alexa, do I have emails from Sarah?"

Whisper Mode

Gone are the days of waking up your spouse or partner to ask Alexa for the weather in the morning or turn your alarm off. Whisper Mode is a new feature that allows you to whisper to Alexa, and she will whisper her response back to you.

New Music Service - TIDAL

Later this year, global music streaming platform TIDAL will be available on all Echo devices. This service leverages the new Music Skill API also announced today.

Left-Right Stereo Pairing

With the new left-right stereo pairing feature, you can connect two of the same, supported Echo devices for stereo sound.

Amazon Music New Release Notifications

With Amazon Music's New Release Notifications, you will soon be able to ask Alexa to follow their favorite artist, and receive notifications on their Echo device or within the Amazon Music mobile app when an artist releases a new album or track. After asking to hear the new album or track, users will also be surprised to hear some of their favorite artists' voices delivering the message themselves on their Echo.

Overlapping Groups

With overlapping groups, you can add one Echo device to several multi-room music groups. For example, the Echo in your kitchen can be included in both the "Kitchen" group for daily listening, and the "Downstairs" group when you're having friends over on the weekend.

Preferred Speaker Setup

Set your preferred speaker for music playback in your Alexa app-be it an Echo device, a third-party AVS speaker, or a multi-room music group. When you want to play music in that space, simply say "Alexa, play rock music" and it will stream from your preferred speaker.


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