At Amazon’s Alexa event in Seattle, the company announced a handful of new Echo devices and features.
Since all the devices are being announced so rapidly, we don’t have specific Canadian availability or pricing yet for every device.
Amazon Canada says the Echo Studio, All-new Echo, Echo Flex, Echo Dot with clock, and the Echo Show 8 are available to pre-order now and will ship sometime ‘later this year.’
Echo Dot With Clock
A new version of the Echo Dot is going up for pre-order today. It features a small LED clock face across the edge of the device. This helps the device find its place in the bedroom as it can now replace a regular clock.
This device also features the tap to snooze functionality from the Echo Show 5. That means if you’re using it beside your bed, you can tap on the top of the device when your alarm goes off, and it will enable a short snooze.
The LED display can display more than the time as well. It can show you timers, the temperature outside and Amazon says when you have an alarm set, it will display an illuminated dot on the screen to signify that.
The new Echo comes in an additional colour and features a revamped speaker setup carried over from the older Echo Plus.
The new design also comes in a fabric-wrapped design that makes it look like a much taller Echo Dot. There’s even a new ‘Twilight Blue’ colour, which is featured in the picture above.
During a brief test, the new 3rd Echo sounded a lot better than the previous version and got much louder than expected.
The other colours include ‘Charcoal,’ ‘Heather Grey’ and ‘Sandstone.’
The speaker is available for pre-order today and costs the same as the existing Echo.
The all-new Echo sports a $129.99 CAD price tag and is coming to Canada on October 16th.
The speaker looks about as large as the new Sonos Move and features clear, powerful sound that dwarfs anything Amazon has released so far.
The speaker features Dolby Atmos and some form of technology that detects the space the Echo Studio is sitting in and tunes itself to sound as crisp as possible
There are five speakers packed into the device and based upon my first impressions, it’s very loud and sounds much better than any existing Echo products. Three of the speakers are mid-range woofers, one is a high-frequency tweeter and the final speaker is a large 5.25-inch woofer.
The hardware is up for pre-order today and costs $259.99 CAD. Its release date is November 7th.
You can also pair two Echo Studios together in stereo with a Fire TV device to create a more cinematic surround sound experience. Since the speaker supports Dolby Atmos, this could be an easy way to add the high-end audio to your home movie setup.
Alexa Smart Screen SDK 2.0
Amazon is upgrading its Alexa smart screen technology on devices like Facebook’s new Portal devices and other smart displays.
Echo Show 8
Amazon is boosting the size of the Echo Show 5 a few inches with the new Echo Show 8.
This device looks like a larger Echo Show 5, but Amazon says it features the larger speakers from the Echo Show 10.
The device is up for pre-order and costs $169.99 CAD. Amazon is releasing it on November 21st.
New Alexa privacy utterances
Users will soon be able to ask their Echo devices, “Alexa, tell me what you heard,” and “Alexa, why did you do that?”
The first string of words will make Alexa repeat back to the user what it just heard. The second explains why the assistant did something.
Drop-in on all feature
This is a large multi-user video/voice chat service based on Alexa enabled hardware. So if you say, “Alexa, Drop-in on all” you’ll be instantly connected to all of your Alexa devices.
A new voice
Amazon showed off a new neural network-powered voice for Alexa that sounds more natural compared to the previous Alexa voice. The company even said that you’ll be able to buy celebrity voices for $0.99 USD ($1.31 CAD). This begins with the voice of Samual Jackson — and yes there is an explicit version of his voice.
Alongside this, Alexa will also sound more emotive. The demo Amazon showed off had the assistant speaking with the cadence of an excited radio DJ.
The Echo Glow is a new smart night light capable of performing neat tricks.
There’s a party mode and a fireplace mode, plus other features that the company hinted at.
It seems like Amazon is aiming this product at kids. The Echo Glow is going up for pre-order today and costs $29.99 USD (about $38 CAD).
Multi-lingual support in Canada
Canadian households that speak English and French can now talk to their Alexa in both languages. That means that you can talk to it in French and it will respond in French, but if other people in your home only speak English, then the digital assistant can also interact with them.
The Echo Flex is a tiny Alexa-enabled device that looks like a CO2 detector. The idea is to place them in weird places around your home like a laundry room or the bathroom. It’s not for playing music but instead allows users to interact with Alexa everywhere without the hassle of a long power cord.
There’s even a USB port on the bottom so users can charge devices like their phone through the Echo flex. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side of the device that should help it replace the Echo Input or Echo Dot.
The USB port can be connected to two new attachments, a nightlight and a motion sensor. In a demo, Amazon had the flex positioned in an outlet near the bathroom door with a motion sensor attachment. Then when the user walked by it a night light turned on that was connected to another Echo Flex.
The device is going up for pre-order today for $34 CAD. Both the motion sensor and a nightlight attachment retail for $14 CAD. All of the Flex-associated devices will ship on November 14th.
Source: Amazon Canada