Amazon Take On Apple, Google With 15 New Alexa Products
Amazon has added even more ways to include Alexa in your daily life with 15 new products announced including the AirPod challenging Echo Buds, Google Glass competing Echo Frames plus even more smart assistant enabled devices.
First, we’ll start with Amazon’s answer to the Apple AirPods, the Echo Buds, currently available for preorder on Amazon’s US website for USD $129.
Boasting five-hours of battery life, the wireless earbuds bring Alexa closer to your ears with Bose powered active noise reduction and pass-through mode.
If you’re not a fan of Alexa, the Echo Buds are compatible with whichever digital assistant you frequently use.
Much like other wireless earbuds, functions like play/pause and activating the voice assistant are done via touch gestures on the buds themselves, or through the required wake word.
Continuing with challenges from Amazon, we move to its first high-resolution smart speaker, the Echo Studio, available for pre-order now for AUD $329.
Following the launch of Amazon Music HD, a hi-res streaming service that for 24-bit audio, the Echo Studio features a 100 kHz bandwidth specifically for lossless audio playback.
Supporting Dolby Atmos, the Sony 360 Reality Audio format and the 24 bit audio DAC, and boasts a 330w amplifier that drives the entire unit.
Designed to directly compete with Apple’s HomePod and the Google Home Max, as well as the line up of SONOS premium smart speakers.
Continuing with speakers, the new Echo Dot sports an LED clock on the front, that can also display the temperature, for just AUD $99 pre-order.
The all-new Amazon Echo also dropped covered in a new fabric that produces better sound, with some new colour schemes in Charcoal, Sandstone, Heather Gray and the new Twilight Blue, all for a pre-order cost of AUD $149.
Amazon also unveiled its new Echo Show 8 smart display, sporting an HD 8-inch display sitting alongside the Show 5 and 10-inch version.
For the children, Amazon revealed the Echo Glow, a multi-colour smart lamp that’s basically a kid-friendly version of the Echo speaker.
Amazon is also tackling Google’s Mesh Wi-Fi offering with the Eero Wi-Fi that includes dual-band radio and TrueMesh technology to eliminate dead zones.
There’s also an optional subscription service called eero Secure to protect network-connected devices.
Pushing the spread of Alexa around the home, Amazon released a small speaker that plugs into a wall outlet called Echo Flex.
While not designed specifically for audio playback, it does enable Alexa connectivity throughout the house without the need for a larger Alexa enabled smart speaker.
Two new security cameras were unveiled by Ring in the battery-powered Stickup Cam and a new Ring Indoor Cam that is only 4.5cm x 7.4cm in size.
Alexa is even able to answer the door through your Ring doorbell and also speak to visitors for you.
Coupled with improvements made to Alexa Guard, the doorbells can now initiate away modes based on specific commands.
On the topic of security, Amazon has also continued its efforts to protect user privacy by allowing users to delete their verbal recordings automatically.
“We care about this,” said Senior Vice President, David Limp, “privacy is absolutely foundational to everything that we do in and around Alexa.”
You can even ask Alexa to repeat what it heard, or why it executed a specific action, giving users unprecedented access to the virtual assistant.
Moving to the kitchen, we find the new voice-controlled convection Amazon Smart Oven, which comes with a bonus Echo Dot.
For when you’re on the go and need a wireless network, Amazon has released the Sidewalk, a new low-bandwidth long-distance wireless device that Amazon says will allow you to connect to your devices even when you’re not at home.
Amazon also introduced two other wearable devices – the Alexa-enabled smart glasses, Echo Frames and the Alexa-powered ring, Echo Loop.
The glasses can be fitted with prescription lenses, and like the Echo Buds, brings Alexa closer to you than ever.
The Echo Loop can pair with your phone to emit haptic vibrations when notifications are received, and you can initiate Alexa through the two small microphones on the ring.
Unfortunately, both these products are “invite-only” items.
Amazon has also enlisted the help of Hollywood actors like Samuel L Jackson to voice the virtual assistant Alexa.
Though the showbiz audio will come at the cost of USD $0.99, said Mr Limp.