Amazon is having its second annual fall hardware event to showcase all the latest in Echo and Alexa-integrated products. If you didn’t think five different Echo form factors from last year’s event was enough — in addition to spinoffs like the Echo Look fashion camera — it’s time to get ready for even more ways Amazon will put Alexa in your home. There will also be updates to current Echo speakers that will add new finishes and a larger screen on the Echo Show. From smart kitchen appliances like a microwave with a built-in Alexa to an update that turns all your Echo devices into a home security system, here are all the latest from the event in Seattle.
Sep 21, 2018
Amazon’s new Echo Auto — a $50 credit card-sized box that sits on your dashboard and brings Alexa to your car — is a lot of things at once. It’s a relatively cheap way to smarten up a car that might not have a snazzy infotainment system. It’s a new beachhead for Amazon in the automotive world, which the company has focused increasing attention on over the years. It’s also another place for you to yell at Alexa to order more toilet paper.Read Article >
What the Echo Auto really is, though, is a symptom of the messy state of in-car software.
Sep 20, 2018
At its 2018 hardware event in Seattle, Amazon announced several new Alexa-powered A/V devices, smart home products, and a few others that fall outside of the company’s usual wheelhouse. It was a mix of brand-new and updated products, and the biggest announcements include the redesigned Echo Dot and Echo Plus, the Echo Sub subwoofer, Amazon’s Echo Auto, and the Fire TV Recast cloud DVR box.Read Article >
Many of the products announced today are up for preorder, most of which will be available in October. There’s plenty to dive into regarding the huge list of product debuts, and we’ve got you covered if you’re looking to place a preorder (or 10).
I just got a quick demo of the Amazon Fire TV Recast. It’s a shoebox-sized thing you can put in your home to have a DVR that works with over-the-air channels that it receives via antenna and displays on your Fire TV (or Fire tablet). Like the Slingbox back in the day, the idea behind the Recast is to allow you to watch both live TV and stuff that you’ve recorded from anywhere.Read Article >
There have been a million different weird takes on how to get TV content to act more like streaming content, so I should probably slow down a bit and explain exactly what the Recast is and how it works.
Sep 20, 2018
Amazon just announced a ton of new products, but the ones that will probably be the most popular this holiday season are the new versions of the Echo Show, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus. I just spent some time using all three devices, and I can say that all of them are improvements on their predecessors, with nicer designs, more features, and, most noticeably, better sound.Read Article >
The new Echo Show has a bigger screen and sleeker design than the model Amazon released a little over a year ago, which means it will look nicer on your kitchen counter, and it will be easier to see from across the room. But the more significant upgrade is in the speakers, which are comprised of two side firing drivers and a passive radiator for bass. It’s much louder and clearer than the original Echo Show and the improvement is noticeable immediately.
I just heated up a mug of water in a microwave. It got hot. The difference is that I used the new AmazonBasics Microwave, which works with Alexa. That “works with Alexa” phrasing and the fact that this isn’t the “Echo Microwave” should tell you that this thing doesn’t have any microphones or a speaker (beyond one that can beep) on it. Instead, it’s a $59.99 device meant to showcase Amazon’s new system for companies to make their regular gadgets into smart gadgets.Read Article >
The way the Alexa integration works is pretty clever: when you set it up, it will get paired to your Alexa system as “the microwave,” and then you can command Alexa to, you know, cook stuff. There are very few buttons on the microwave because all the presets for various food types have been stored in Amazon’s cloud instead.
Sep 20, 2018
Today Amazon held a hardware event that was loaded with new product announcements. We got new Echo speakers, a new Echo Show, and even a microwave.Read Article >
In many ways, the sprawling event was a showcase of how far Alexa has come in the four years since Amazon’s voice assistant was first introduced in 2014. The technology has evolved far beyond its early capabilities on the original Echo speaker.
In its now second annual hardware event, Amazon today announced Echo Auto, an in-car accessory that allows you to integrate Alexa into your car.Read Article >
There are a couple of ways customers can already access Alexa in the car — you could download an Alexa app, buy accessories or even a Moto Mod, or drive cars with the software built in. But the Echo Auto makes it far easier to integrate Alexa into any car, regardless of whether your automaker included it or not.
Amazon announced a new Fire TV Recast today. It’s a box that can beam shows from an antenna to your device through Fire TV. All you need to do is place the box in your home, and start streaming on your Echo Show, Spot, Fire TV, or on mobile.Read Article >
A feature in the app will help you determine where to put your antenna for the strongest signal. Fire TV Recast can be integrated into the channel guide, so you could watch with Prime Video and even PlayStation Vue. You can also watch local news and shows from channels like ABC, The CW, and NBC.
Sep 20, 2018
Amazon is introducing a new way to make setting up any smart device as easy as plugging it in. Called Wi-Fi Simple Setup, the system will use Amazon’s Wi-Fi Locker to store your Wi-Fi credentials and share them with compatible smart home devices.Read Article >
Amazon is debuting this tech with TP-Link and Eero, with the idea that customers can reuse network credentials in order to set up new devices. This means devices will connect on their own instead of you having to manually set up each smart product. According to Amazon, it’s as easy as plugging in a Wi-Fi Simple Setup-enabled device. The device will automatically look for the Wi-Fi Simple Setup Network and connect once it receives encrypted credentials. Amazon says the process should take no longer than 30 seconds.
Sep 20, 2018
Amazon announced today that it’s planning to release a new Ring Stick Up Camera. It’ll come in two versions: wired and battery-powered. The wired version includes an Ethernet port. It’ll be released in black and white and works both indoors and outside. It’s now available to preorder at Ring.com, Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot for $179.99. It’ll start shipping on October 18th.Read Article >
Ring already sold a Stick Up Cam; this is just an update. The prior model also worked indoors and outdoors and could withstand temperatures between -5 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It also recorded 720p video and allowed for live streaming through the Ring app. The new cameras have an IPX5 waterproof rating, meaning they can handle rain, and they now record 1080p video.
Amazon is adding a few new features to the Echo that turn it into one of the basic pieces of a smart security system. Since Echo speakers are always listening, they’ll be able to start listening for the sound of broken glass, or for a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm to go off. If it hears those sounds while you’re out of the house, it’ll be able to send a notification to your phone; or, if you have a supported professional monitoring system, send it directly to the service monitoring your home.Read Article >
The feature set is being called Alexa Guard. It won’t be working at all times — instead, you’ll have to enable it when you leave the house, by telling Alexa that you’re leaving. Once you do, it’ll start monitoring and be ready to send you alerts.
Amazon has just announced an all-new Echo Show at its Alexa event. The new device features a larger 10-inch display and gets rid of the weird chin from the first-generation device, along with offering a smart home hub inside and a new fabric back cover (bringing the design in line with the other new Echo devices it announced today.)Read Article >
Also new are revamped speakers, with the updated Show now offering dual, side-firing two-inch neodymium drivers that replace the front-facing ones that were below the screen on the older model.
Sep 20, 2018
Amazon has officially announced a microwave oven, the company’s first kitchen appliance product. The device will be sold under the AmazonBasics line, and it will cost $59.99 and ships starting November 14th.Read Article >
Naturally, it will come with voice-activated presets, so you can inform the microwave how you’d like to cook something and for how long by simply using an Alexa wake phrase and then a duration or a phrase like “frozen vegetables.” The microwave also comes with a built-in Alexa button, so you can avoid saying “Alexa” or “microwave” and simply verbalize the desired cook time or the preset.
Amazon has just announced the Echo Wall Clock, a new Echo accessory for displaying timers you’ve set with Alexa in a more visible way.Read Article >
The Echo Wall Clock uses a ring of LEDs around the clock face to show your active timers. Start a timer, and an LED will show how long the timer is set. Add a second timer, and it’ll light up a second LED for that. As an added bonus, the Echo Wall Clock can change the time automatically for turning on or off daylight saving time.
Amazon is now launching Alexa Hunches, where the voice assistant will predict your future needs. It uses deep neural networks to understand behavior and Alexa Hunches is first going to focus on the smart home.Read Article >
How it works is that Alexa will feel like it’s getting a “hunch” and if it’s confident enough, it will say something like, “Hey, I think you left the porch light on, would you like me to turn it off?” Alexa could also remind you to lock the front door if you haven’t already when you say “Goodnight.”
Amazon is announcing another small new Alexa device today: a smart plug that lets you control whatever is plugged into it with Alexa. The plug doesn’t have microphones built into it, so you’ll need an Echo device somewhere else in your house to control it by voice. But once it’s set up, you’ll be able to control it either in or out of the house from Alexa or the Alexa app.Read Article >
The plug will sell for $25, which is pretty much the standard price for this kind of device. There are a ton of smart plugs out there already — many of which already work with Alexa, and most of which support multiple smart home systems, giving them an advantage over this device — but Amazon thinks this product can stand out because of its setup. Amazon says it’s built a simple, automatic setup process into Echo devices, and this smart plug is one of the first devices to support it.
Amazon is introducing a small new device that you can plug into any existing speaker to turn it into an Echo. It’s called the Echo Input, and it includes far-field microphones on it just like a normal Echo would. But instead of including its own speaker, it’s supposed to plug into or pair with another speaker, so that Alexa gets added to an audio setup that’s already in your home.Read Article >
The device will sell for $34.99 and launch later this year in the US, UK, and Germany. Amazon also says it’ll be bundled with some third-party speakers, including Bose, allowing customers to turn them into smart speakers straight out of the box.
In Amazon’s second (perhaps now annual) surprise Alexa event, it is making a bigger push into the home audio space with the Amazon Echo Sub. As was leaked yesterday, it’s a 100W subwoofer that is meant to supply the bass for a home audio setup. It can be paired with two “of the same compatible Echo devices” for full stereo pairing, and it will be controlled with the Alexa app or with your voice.Read Article >
It ships later this month, available for preorders today. It costs $129.99.
Amazon has just announced an update to its most popular Echo speaker, the Echo Dot, along with its larger Echo Plus model that it had introduced last year.Read Article >
The new Echo Dot, which follows the version released in fall 2016, has an updated design with softer edges and fabric covers. It doesn’t look hugely different than the other hockey puck-sized smart speaker, Google’s Home Mini.
Sep 20, 2018
Remember when Amazon held a “surprise” event last September and introduced a bunch of new Echo devices? Well, it’s doing it again this year in what looks to become an annual hardware event. The announcements will kick off today at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET, and while the company says it won’t be streaming the event, The Verge is here on the ground in Seattle, bringing you live coverage of all the new devices.Read Article >
This time last year, Amazon introduced a bunch of new Echo form factors: a smaller Echo speaker with fabric shells, the tiny Echo Spot alarm clock with a touch screen, an Echo Plus smart home hub that looks just like the original Echo, an Echo Connect for pairing to your landline phones, and the Echo Buttons that turn Alexa speakers into an interactive game host.