Amazon today announced a lot of new products including the new Echo speaker line. And the products look dramatically different. Gone are the cylinders. They’re spheres now and look like nothing else on the market. The lights are now on the bottom, while there are still rounded buttons on the top.
The Alexa software got an upgrade, too. The new capabilities allow it to become more personalized as it can now ask clarifying questions and then use this personalized data to interact with the user later on. When you ask Alexa to set the temperature to your “favorite setting,” for example, she will now ask what that setting is. The real breakthrough, though, is the conversation mode. In today’s demo, the company showed how Alexa could work when you’re ordering a pizza, for example. One of the actors said she wasn’t that hungry and wanted a smaller pizza. Alexa automatically changed that order for her. The team calls this “natural turn taking.”
The new Echo is only $99 and combines the features of the past Echo and Echo Plus. The midrange woofer shoots out the top while dual tweets are on the bottom. Like the Echo Plus before it, this one features additional connectivity services including a ZigBee hub and Sidewalk Bridge.
The Echo Dot is now, well, more of a sphere. It looks half the size of the full-size Echo and costs half as much at $49, or, $59 for the clock version. Just like the last version, this is marketed as a secondary Echo.
Like the last generation, the Echo Dot line has a version for kids, too. This time around they come in fun animal prints and cost $59.99 and are equipped for use by children with special features turned on by default.
The $249 Echo Show 10 features 10-inch HD display, 13 MP camera and a 2.1 speaker system. But the key feature is its swiveling base, which uses an Amazon-made CPU, to understand the room and move the display to where a person is standing (like the Facebook Portal). Like the last version, it supports a lot of different video services including Skype and Zoom.