Amazon reveals a slew of new Echo hardware

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Amazon held a press conference earlier this week where the focus was on its smart hardware. As the digital assistant race appears to be heating up, it looks like Amazon is ahead of the pack having placed its Alexa offering in a number of new devices.

Most of the devices are branded under the Echo line, and Amazon has debuted six new notable pieces of hardware by our count.

Even by modern press conference standards that’s quite a bit of shiny new consumer tech to unveil all at once. Luckily we have done a rundown the devices below.

New Echo Dot speaker 

First up from Amazon is a newly minted Echo Dot speaker, which is already listed on the retailer’s website for $49.99 in the US. It retains the same circular form factor of its predecessor, but swaps out the sharper edges in favour of rounded ones.

Added to this is a fabric cover that wraps around the sides, which also serves as the new design reference for several of the devices that Amazon has shown off this week. In terms of improvements, it features a larger 1.6″ driver that generates 70 percent louder sound according to Amazon.

2nd-Gen Echo Plus 

Next is the second generation Echo Plus which is an upgrade to the original Amazon Echo speaker and costs $149.99. You can’t buy it just yet, but the Echo Plus goes up for pre-order on 11th October.

In terms of features it produces 360-degree sound, and is compatible with a number of Amazon’s newly unveiled accessories like the Smart Plug (more about that further down below), smart bulbs and motion sensors, along with playing music and featuring Alexa of course.

2nd-Gen Echo Show

Another device getting its second iteration is the Echo Show. This version has a larger 10″ HD display, alongside a pair of 2″ speakers that deliver better sound according to Amazon. Like the Echo Plus, the new Echo Show goes up for pre-order on 11th October for $229.99.

In Amazon’s marketing material, the Echo Show is placed in the kitchen, with the company actively trying to ensure that this new offering becomes the go-to smart device for that portion of the home. To that end, step-by-step recipe guides, news feeds and video chat are all touted as big selling points by Amazon.

Echo Sub

Joining the Echo lineup is the new Amazon Echo Sub. As the name suggests it’s a subwoofer designed to specifically pair with second-generation Echo speakers. As such it’s designed for people who have a bunch of Echos littered across their house.

In terms of audio quality, Amazon says it delivers 100W of deep bass via a 6″ woofer, as well as featuring a wireless 2.1 stereo system setup.

The Echo Sub, like many of the company’s new offerings will go for pre-order next month on 11th October, currently listed at $249.97.

Amazon Smart Plug   

Now for the Amazon Smart Plug, which is actually the most intriguing offering from the company in our opinion. It plugs into US-type power outlets for now, but does feature the ability to schedule when devices slotted into it turn on and off.

As such you can then be a bit more conscious of your power use when away from home as it can be operated remotely. Added to this, there is no smart hub platform required to utilise the Smart Plug, with everything done via the Alexa mobile app.

It is a tad expensive though at $24.99, but if they develop versions for other power outlets across the world, it may prove worthwhile.

Echo Auto

Rounding off the announcements is a wholly new offering in the form of the Echo Auto, which is designed to deliver Alexa in your car. It mounts onto the dashboard and is powered by slotting into the cigarette lighter.

As expected it can be controlled via voice and can do most of the smart things that Alexa already performs on other Echo speakers, like playing music and answering questions. If your home is set up with other smart solutions like controls for your garage door or front gate, the Echo Auto can control those things too.

At the moment there is no price, and availability is only by invite for now.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.