Amazon gives Alexa some cool new smart home tricks

Posted September 29, 2017

The Alexa integration won't just offer a disembodied voice from a car's speakers, like Amazon's Echo speakers.

If you're sick of the Skynet-like, pitch-black, semi-reflective column of doom that characterized the old Echo, the new Echo has a cloth cover, so you can customize its appearance.

The new Echo replaces the current model and sports improved sound with Dolby processing and better far-field microphones. The speaker will also have upgraded Dolby sound.

The new Echo is about two-thirds the height of its predecessor and comes in six different mesh, wood, and brushed metal exterior designs.

The new Echo Spot is a "smart alarm clock" that allows video calling.

The home automation feature works with many existing smart-home gadgets, and Amazon will ship the Echo Plus with a Philips Hue smart light bulb.

Amazon also revealed a dongle-like device known as Fire TV. Inside, the Quad - core processor, 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory.

It will support 4K video as well as a new image standard called "high dynamic range", or HDR. New Fire TV: It's an update of the company's previous streaming box. Here we tell you how to order them in pre-sale before they arrive later this year. Think of it as a cross between an Echo Dot and Echo Show.

Amazon also announced the next generation of its voice activated speaker Echo, Echo Plus, which has a built-in smart home hub to connect with IoT lighting, locks and other appliances. The Fire TV 4K is priced at $69.99 and is already up for pre-orders in the US. Likely as a way to compete with the likes of Google and Apple who are both gearing up for the holiday season, Amazon is not holding back either and has just announced a flurry of new products. The calls are hands-free as Echo Connect is also powered by Alexa. You connect it to your Wi-Fi network and phone jack or VoIP adapter, and set up the device through the Alexa app.

Amazon is betting big on its voice assistant, trying to find every place where they can fit Alexa. On top of that, this new Echo device will be able to support multi-room audio. However, the company will most likely start integrating other features into them.