At its recent hardware event, Amazon announced a range of new Echo devices, alongside upgrades to older models.
In a briefing, the online retailer made it clear its vision for its Echo line is to create an ambient experience for users that works behind the scenes and continues to become more intuitive over the years.
One of the ways Amazon is improving its older technology and making it more intuitive is by adding new features. The company announced that its Echo Show 15 and Echo Studio are gaining a new custom-built Spatial Audio processing technology and frequency range extension to enhance stereo sound with digital audio processing that aims to make audio feel more immersive, with improved mid-range clarity and deeper bass.
The feature is currently limited to the Echo Show 15 and Echo Studio and will roll out automatically. Amazon also said it will roll out the functionality to other compatible Echo devices in the future.
The Echo Studio and the Echo Show 15 are available to order from Amazon for $259.99 and $329.99, respectively. The Echo Studio is now also available in a new ‘Glacier White’ colourway. Shipping for the new colourway begin on October 20th.
New 5th-gen Echo Dot and Echo Dot Clock
The main attraction of the New 5th-gen Echo Dot is that has a redesigned audio architecture with a full range driver that outputs double the bass of its predecessor, while maintaining the same compact, spherical form factor.
It includes a new temperature sensor that can be utilized to automatically turn on a fan or the air conditioner when the temperature exceeds a pre-set threshold, or, similarly, turn on the heating when it gets too cold inside. A built-in accelerometer brings new tap gesture controls to pause/play music, kill alarms or timers, or end a call.
It’s powered by Amazon’s custom four-core AZ2 Neural Edge processor (the same as the Echo Show 15) for near-instant on-device speech processing, quick register taps, and ultrasound motion detection.
The new 5th-gen Echo Dot Clock includes all of the audio, sensor and processor upgrades as the new Echo Dot, and sets itself apart with its dot technology that can display time, timers and temperature. With the New Echo Dot Clock, Amazon has upgraded its LED to high-density dot technology that offers support for more information visibility. This allows the Echo Dot Clock to display the name of a song that’s playing or its artist, the weather, a specific calculation, calendar event times and more when you ask Alexa for specific information.
Both the new Echo Dots now feature Eero mesh technology, which means the smart speakers can double as mesh Wi-Fi extenders, and add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to your existing eero mesh Wi-Fi network.
The fourth-gen Echo will also receive a software update on October 20th to roll out Eero mesh Wi-Fi extender capabilities, while the fourth-gen Echo Dot and Echo Dot with clock would receive the same over-the-air update in the coming months.
The 5th-gen Echo Dot is available to pre-order today in ‘Deep-sea Blue,’ Charcoal’ and ‘Glacier White’ colourways for $69.99. Shipping begins on October 20th.
The 5th-gen Echo Dot with Clock is available to pre-order today in ‘Cloud Blue’ and ‘Glacier White’ colourways for $79.99. Shipping begins on October 20th.
Echo Dot Kids makes its way to Canada
Amazon released the first Echo Dot Kids smart speaker back in 2018. Subsequent upgraded versions of the same came out in 2019 and 2020, but none of them made it to Canada. Considering that the company’s children’s Fire tablets have been available in the nation for a while now, it didn’t make sense to hold off the kid-friendly smart speakers.
This time around, Amazon is ready to let the Canadian youth join in on the fun. The online retailer announced that it is releasing the Echo Dot Kids in Canada in cool-looking Owl and Dragon designs, with Alexa’s voice transformed to talk like an Owl or a Dragon.
The audio transformation feature will be limited to Amazon Kids+. “Kids can hear greetings, jokes, facts, songs, and more from the perspective of an Owl or Dragon, transforming Alexa into a fun, immersive experience,” said Amazon, while parents have access to intuitive parental controls to set language and explicit term filters, filter for explicit songs, daily usage limits and check usage activity from the Amazon Parent Dashboard.
It’s worth noting that the device comes with a two-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ at no additional cost.
The Echo Dot Kids is available to pre-order today in Dragon and Owl designs for $79.99. Shipping begins on October 20th.
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Image credit: Amazon