4 min read

Amazon has unveiled a range of Echo devices at the Amazon Devices Event hosted in their Seattle headquarters, yesterday. The products announced included a revamped selection of Amazon’s smart speakers ( Echo Sub, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus), smart displays (the Echo Show and Echo Spot), and other smart devices. Also released, was a smart microwave (AmazonBasics Microwave), Echo Wall Clock, Fire TV Recast, and Amazon Smart Plug This event marks the largest number of devices and features (over 30) that Amazon has ever launched in a day.

Alexa Presentation Language

For developers, Amazon introduced the Alexa Presentation Language, to easily create Alexa skills for Alexa devices with screens. The Alexa Presentation Language (APL) is in preview and allows developers to build voice experiences with graphics, images, slideshows and video. Developers will be able to control how graphics flow with voice, customize visuals and adapt them to Alexa devices and skills.  Supported devices will include Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, and select Fire Tablet devices.

Now let’s take a broad look at the key device announcements.

Amazon Smart Speakers

Echo Dot: The new version of the Smart speaker now offers 70 percent louder sound as compared to its predecessor. It is a voice-controlled smart speaker with Alexa integration. It can sort music, news, information, and more. The driver is now much larger from 1.1” to 1.6” for better sound clarity and improved bass. It is Bluetooth enabled so you can connect to another speaker or use it all by itself.

Echo Input:  If you already have speakers, this device can add Alexa voice control to them via a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth. It has a four-microphone array. Echo Input is just 12.5mm tall and thin enough to disappear into the room. It will be available later this year for $34.99.

Echo Plus: Echo Plus combines Amazon’s cloud-based Natural Language Understanding and Automatic Speech Recognition along with built-in Zigbee hub to make it one of the premier smart speakers. It also has a new fabric casing, and built-in temperature sensor. This model’s pre-orders begin today for $149.99.

Echo Link: The Echo Link device can connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment. It can control music selection, volume, and multi-room playback on your stereo with your Echo or the Alexa app. Echo Link will be available to customers soon.

Echo Sub: This 100-watt subwoofer can connect to other speakers and create a 2.1-sound solution. The $129.99 Echo Sub will launch later this month with pre-orders beginning today.

Amazon Smart Displays

Echo Show: The new Echo Show is completely redesigned with a larger screen, smart home hub, and improved sound quality. Amazon is also introducing Doorbell Chime Announcements, so users will hear a chime on all Echo devices when someone presses your smart doorbell. Echo Show includes a high resolution 10-inch HD display and an 8-mic array. The new Echo Show will be available to customers for $229.99. Shipping starts next month.

Other Smart devices

Echo Wall Clock: It is a $30 Echo companion device, an analog clock with Alexa-powered voice recognition. It is 10-inch, battery-powered and features a ring of 60 LEDs around the rim that show ongoing Alexa timers. It also has automatic time syncing and Daylight Savings Time adjustment.

AmazonBasics Microwave: It’s a $59.99 voice-activated microwave. It features Dash Replenishment and an array of Alexa features including integration with connected ovens, door locks, and other smart fixtures, reminders, and access to more than 50,000 third-party skills.

Fire TV Recast: This is a companion DVR that lets users watch, record, and replay free over-the-air programming to any Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet and mobile devices. Users can also record up to two or four shows at once, and stream on any two devices at a time. It can also be paired with Alexa.

Amazon Smart Plug: The Amazon Smart Plug works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet. You can schedule lights, fans, and appliances to turn on and off automatically, or control them remotely when you’re away.

Follow along the live blog of the event for a minute to minute update.

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Content Marketing Editor at Packt Hub. I blog about new and upcoming tech trends ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development.