work for you?
Fans of Amazon's in-house devices got a nice surprise today as the online shopping giant held a press event to announce a variety of new Echo devices.
Highlights from the unveiling include two new Echo models, an all-new Fire TV that supports 4K Ultra HD and HDR, and an Alexa integration in all 2018 model-year BMW and MINI vehicles.
Keep reading for a recap of today's produce reveals from Amazon.
The Echo Spot is a smart alarm clock with video call functionality. It has a small 2.5-inch screen, so we're not sure how well you'll be able to see the person you're talking to unless you're standing really close to it.
The upward angle is also not going to be very flattering for the person in front of the camera. The Echo Spot can also connect to speakers via Bluetooth or wire, so you're not depending on a crappy built-in speaker. Think of it as an Echo Dot with a screen for video calling.
The price for this device is $130, and you can pre-order it today, but they won't ship until December 19, 2017.
Amazon Echo hasn't had a refresh since it came out a few years ago, but today Amazon showed off the new version called Echo Plus.
It's not quite the same as its predecessor — the Plus is more of a smart home control center that's compatible with 100 smart home devices.
The great thing is you can set them all up using only your voice, so no need to deal with a bunch of apps. The speaker is said to have gotten an upgrade as well. Maybe they wanted to make sure they can rival the upcoming Invoke speaker/smart home hub from Harman Kardon set to come out later this year.
The Echo Plus will be available in black, white and silver colors and will cost $149. If you pre-order it today it will include a Philips Hue smart light bulb, a $15 value. This device is expected to ship starting October 31st, 2017.
Second Gen Echo
Amazon also announced a smaller version of the original Echo that looks to be about half the height of the first-gen Echo. It will be available in six different colors, four of them costing $99 and two premium colors/finishes (walnut and silver) that will run you $119.
The $99 color/fabric/finish options are charcoal fabric, Heather gray fabric, Oak finish and sandstone fabric. We will say, most of them look pretty stylish compared to the original.
You can get a deal if you get a three-pack for $249, which saves you $50 and gets you a multi-room setup. These will ship on October 31st as well.
Many of the Echo devices now have a calling feature built in, but the Echo Connect is the only one that will be able to make phone calls.
The Echo Connect plugs into your wall and enables you to make calls using your voice via your Echo speaker. It's connected to your phone number, so you're essentially making your cell phone a landline as well. That feels very backwards, but I'm guessing they felt there was a need for it?
Echo Connect is not available for pre-order yet, but it will cost $35 when it's released later this fall.
Do you love family game nights? Now you can bring the television game show experience into your home with Echo Buttons, an interactive, light-up controller used for playing trivia games on Echo devices.
About the size of a hockey puck, these Echo Buttons add an element of physical interaction to some of your favorite Alexa-powered games.
The Echo Buttons kick off Amazon’s new series of devices called “Alexa Gadgets,” offering fun ways to interact with other Echo devices.
Echo Buttons will be available later this year as a two-pack for $20.
All-New Fire TV with 4K HDR
The all-new Amazon Fire TV adds 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities for $69.99, making it the company’s "most affordable 4K-enabled device ever."
A 1.5 GHz quad-core processor delivers vivid colors at 60 fps with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio for “true-to-life picture quality and sound.”
This compact streaming device also comes with 2GB of memory, 8GB of storage, and an Alexa voice remote. It can also be paired to any Echo device for expanded voice-control options.
The all-new Amazon Fire TV is available for pre-order starting today, and will begin shipping to U.S. customers on October 25th, 2017. For a limited time, customers can get the all-new Fire TV and Echo Dot together for $79.99.
Alexa in 2018 BMW and MINI Vehicles
Starting mid-2018, you’ll be able to talk with Alexa in all 2018 model-year BMW and MINI vehicles without downloading a separate app or connecting your phone.
This integration will allow you to use your voice to get directions, make a phone call, play music, control your smart home, and more.
Your 2018 BMW or MINI is now a mobile Echo device, enhancing your “digital lifestyle” by making everyday tasks that much easier. For example, you can ask Alexa to place a coffee order at Starbucks while you’re driving, or turn on your smart home’s lights and air conditioning just before you arrive.
Amazon Alexa will be available in all 2018 model-year BMW and MINI vehicles beginning mid-2018 in the US, UK, and Germany.
Any product or service prices/offers that appear in this article are accurate at time of publish, and are subject to change without notice. Please verify the actual selling price and offer details on the merchant’s site before making a purchase.