Amazon has launched a slew of Alexa-powered smart devices at an event in Seattle in a bid to take a grip on home automation across the world. The new product range of 13 devices includes Echo speakers, subwoofer, amplifiers, an Alexa-powered microwave and wall clock. The company has also introduced new ways for third-party developers to develop skills for Amazon Alexa. In a first, Amazon has announced the India prices and availability of these products along with the global launch.
As expected, the company focused a lot on a new range of its Echo-branded speakers. The most affordable out of them is the all-new Echo Dot. The newer generation Echo Dot will be 70 per cent louder and have better sound than its predecessor. It will have a slightly modified exterior, featuring an updated fabric design. The all-new Amazon Echo Dot is priced at Rs 4,499 and available for pre-orders. Amazon says the compact smart speaker will start shipping to India next month.
Next up is the all-new Echo Plus, which promises to offer a louder and cleaner sound. It has a larger 3-inch Neodymium woofer and also features a slightly enhanced design. The new Echo Plus costs Rs 14,999, and it will go on sale in India next month.
The Echo Show also got an update. The high-end smart speaker now features a 10-inch HD display, improved sound, and fabric design. Plus, it will also have dual-firing speakers and an eight microphone array.
For the first time, the Echo Show speaker will support Microsoft’s Skype for video calling. Amazon Silk browser and Firefox browsers will be supported for web browsing. The Echo Show will sell for $229 (Rs 16,407) and it will start shipping in the US next month. Amazon does have plans to bring the Echo Show to India, but it will only happen early next year.
It also announced the Echo Sub, a wireless subwoofer that can be used with an Echo speaker. The $130 Echo Sub, which will ship later this year in the US, has a 6-inch, 100W down-firing speaker that can be configured in stereo. Two paired Echo Sub speakers and an Echo can act as a 2.1 system. In India, Amazon Echo Sub is priced at Rs 12,990 and it will be made available later this year.
Other than the Echo Sub, the company will be bringing the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp, which are essentially amplifiers. Both have ethernet, optical in, and multichannel capabilities, and the Amp has a built-in 60-watt dual-channel amplifier that links to an Echo (left-right speaker binding post outputs to support wiring directly to passive and non-powered speakers). The Link starts at $200 and will be available later this year. The Amp starts at $300 – and will only ship in 2019.
If that was not enough, it will also start selling a AmazonBasics Microwave Oven powered by Alexa and with an integrated dash replenishment service. So if you run out of popcorn, you can order a reorder a replenishment from within the microwave. AmazonBasics Microwave Oven is priced at $59.99 and it will ship later this year in the US.
The e-commerce giant also announced the Echo Wall Clock, which will be compatible with any Echo device. It has a ring of LEDs around the clock face to show active timers. For instance, if you start a timer, an LED will glow for how long the timer is set. The Echo Wall Clock will cost $29.99 when it launches later this year.
Amazon also revealed something called the Fire TV Recast, a DVR box that lets you record live TV. It is a device that essentially streams shows from your antenna to your device. It features two tuners and a 500GB storage model that allows you to record up to two shows simultaneously and holds up to 75 hours of HD programming. There’s another model with a built-in 4-tuner and 1TB of storage that allows users to record up to four shows at once and holds up to 150 hours of HD programming. At launch, it starts at $229 and the device will ship later this year.
Then there was the Echo Input, which adds music-casting (and multiroom audio) capabilities to any dub speaker. And its four-microphone array can pick up voice commands from across a room, claims Amazon. It is priced at $35.
The last device was the Echo Auto, an in-car speaker powered by Alexa, alongside a smart plug. The Echo Auto is priced at $49, but will be $25 for special invites, and will ship later this year. Meanwhile, the Amazon Smart Plug will cost $24.99.
The writer is in Seattle, USA, on the invitation of Amazon India