New Amazon Echo Alexa Devices Make Smart Houses Smart Homes

Google Home Hub Features A 7-inch Touch Display; Comes With Google Assistant

Google Home Hub Features A 7-inch Touch Display; Comes With Google Assistant

The all-new Amazon Echo Plus costs $149.99 in the U.S., £139.99 in the UK.

Along with this very nice new appearance, the Dot now has improved audio with Amazon boasting that it will sound 70 percent louder than its predecessor. Meanwhile, as voice control and conversational computing takes hold, Alexa is establishing a presence in offices, cars and other spaces.

"The number of smart speaker models available worldwide has grown significantly over the last 12 months as vendors look to capitalize on the explosive market growth", said David Mercer, vice president at Strategy Analytics.

The Echo Plus is getting an update, too, complete with an updated design that decks it out in fabric. Amazon has also added a built-in Ask Alexa button to directly instruct Alexa to cook for you.

It was only a matter of time before Google finally announced their competitor against Amazon's Echo Show, Lenovo's Smart Display, and JBL's LINKVIEW. The Echo Dot and Echo Plus have better looks and better sound, two things that are important for a smart speaker that'll always be sitting out, while the Echo Show has a larger screen that'll be useful for watching videos and recipes.

The Echo Sub is Amazon's $129.99 solution for those who want more bass out of their Alexa experience. It has a four-microphone array for voice detection across a room and is priced $34.99 (UK pricing to follow).

Google Home Hub Features A 7-inch Touch Display; Comes With Google Assistant
Google Home Hub leaks, looks like a mashup of a tablet and the Google Home Max

The Echo Sub carries a 6-inch down firing woofer, and can be paired wirelessly with one or two Echo devices.

"Even when there's construction, or you're cranking up the music with the air conditioning on high, Echo Auto can hear your requests", Amazon said. Echo Link and Echo Link Amp can promise better sound, and are meant to replace existing receivers and amplifiers.

Moving away from hi-fi and more into home cinema, we have the Fire TV Recast, a companion DVR device that lets you watch, record and replay free over-the-air programming to any Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet and smartphones.

At a special event in Seattle this afternoon Amazon revealed a range of new products running the Alexa digital assistant.

And ... wow. Lot's to discuss here, and that's just the hardware. For example, by saying, "Alexa, bedtime", a programmed device could turn off the lights, play a lullaby and set the temperature to 65 degrees.

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