September 27, 2017
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Amazon just won't stop. They've been partnering with plenty of retailers lately, such as Whole Foods, Kohl's, and Hilton Honors, but that's not all they're doing. On Wednesday, Amazon introduced a brand new, third generation of the ever-popular Amazon Echo, which now includes a new design, improved Dolby sound processing, more advanced technology, and the best part, a lower price at just $99.99. Moreover, reminiscent of iPhone devices, the Alexa-powered Echo collection now comes with an Echo and Echo Plus. The Echo Plus is priced at $149.99 and is equipped with a built-in smart home hub. Keep reading to learn more about the new devices!
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Amazon Echo, $99.99
In addition to delivering voice-powered actions such as making calls, playing music in every room throughout the house, controlling lights, and even ordering take-out, the all-new Echo is ready to tackle so much more. It comes in 6 different colors, so you can better match the style of your home. Check out the brand new Alexa and Echo features:
- Alexa Routines
Dabble in Routines via a single voice command that you easily customize for your lifestyle. For example, create a personal command for Alexa to turn off your lights - say "good night" instead of "turn off the lights." Routines function for specific times of the day as well, so you can always start the coffee maker at 6:30 AM, for instance. These Routines can be coupled with the powers of lights, switches, and door locks from big brands like Wemo, August, and Philips Hue, and this feature will be available on the new Echo as well as previous generations of Amazon Echos.
- Improved smart home groups
If you have trouble remembering the names of all your devices to control the right one, Amazon has solved that issue with smart home grouping. This new Alexa feature is smarter and works better with you to improve your smart home experience. Now, instead of being more specific like saying, "Alexa, turn off the dining room ceiling fan light" when you walk into the dining room, you can simply state, "Alexa, turn off the lights." Again, this feature will be available on the new Echo as well as previous generations of Amazon Echos.
- Make calls to anyone with Alexa
Although Alexa calling and messaing is still only four months old, there are already major upgrades to expand the possibilities of this function. With the new updates, owners of the Echo can make free calls to phone numbers throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It only requires a simple command of "Alexa, call John's mobile" to call John's mobile phone from the contact list on your smartphone, and Alexa can even help you contact people and businesses that aren't in your contacts. However, Alexa will not respond to requests to dial 911. This feature will be available on the new Echo as well as previous generations of Amazon Echos.
Moreover, Echo Connect was introduced today, which is a new accessory that transforms your Echo device into a high-quality speakerphone for your landline or VoIP. If someone calls your home phone, Alexa will announce their name from your contacts list and you just have to ask Alexa to commence the conversation. Echo Connect is enabled by your home Wi-Fi and home phone jack or VoIP adapter, and the Alexa app on your phone will help you set up Echo Connect. It comes at an additional cost of $34.99 and will be available later this year.
- Echo Buttons - A new gaming experience with Alexa
Take advantage of Echo Buttons to play games with family and friends via Alexa. These new devices illuminate to control interactive gaming experiences and the number of players when pressed, and they'll be made available just in time for the holidays. Compatible games include Trivial Pursuit from Hasbro, Full Count Baseball Trivia with Buster Posey from Ground Control, Beat the Intro from Musicplode, and much more. Echo Buttons will be sold as a two-pack for $19.99, and they are the first of a new collection of Alexa Gadgets, accessories that enhance the Alexa experience. To learn more about Echo Buttons and when they will be available for purchase, click here.
- Over 25,000 Alexa skills and new multi-player games
Alexa's skills are expanding behind the scenes thanks to tens of thousands of developers. Alexa Skills Kit is hard at work to increase the number of third-party skills available to Alexa, such as tracking your fitness and requesting a ride.
Amazon Echo Plus, $149.99
The Amazon Echo Plus is the newest and most advanced Echo to date, and it comes in 3 different colors. In addition to all of the new Alexa and basic Echo features mentioned above, the Amazon Echo Plus also includes:
- Built-in smart home hub
With the new Amazon Echo Plus, you can now connect all compatible smart home devices with tremendous ease. Command your device with "Alexa, discover my devices" and the Echo Plus will find and link all smart lights, locks, switches, and more without the need for extra apps or hubs. Compatible ZigBee products include brands such as Philips Hue, GE, Kwikset, and more, and Amazon customers who purchase the Echo Plus will recieve a free Philip Hue smart lightbulb!
- Better audio and performance
For a more powerful smart home audio experience, the Echo Plus deliveres with 360-degree, omni-directional sound powered by Dolby processing. Stream music from your favorite sites and apps such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. If you use Amazon Music, dive into lyric search, time-period, or even allow Alexa the freedom to choose your music for you.
When can I get my hands on the new Echo devices?
The all-new standard Echo is priced at $99.99 and the Echo Plus is priced at $149.99. Both devices are available for pre-order starting today, September 27th. Visit www.amazon.com/echo to place your order for the Echo and www.amazon.com/echoplus to place your order for the Echo Plus. Shipping begins next month. Remember, those who order the Echo Plus will receive a free Philips Hue smart lightbulb while supplies last.
Amazon also introduced the new Echo Spot today, which is designed with a screen so Alexa can show you things. It is priced at $129.99. We're intrigued to see how Amazon will continue to wow us in the coming months leading up to the holidays. Let us know in the comments below what you think of their progress!