Never one to be caught unprepared for the holiday season, Amazon got ahead of the game and released 6 new Alexa-enabled products that are sure to be quickly added to holiday gift lists around the country.
Here’s a look at their new lineup:
Second Generation Echo
I can’t believe the Amazon Echo, the little smart speaker that could, has been around long enough that we’re already being graced with the second edition. There isn’t too much new with this model, except that it does appear to be a bit shorter than its first-generation brother.
Amazon also seems to be going full speed ahead with expanding the Echo rainbow – something they started toying with just recently – as this model will come in six color options: charcoal fabric, heather gray fabric, oak finish, sandstone fabric, silver finish and walnut finish. The Echo is working overtime to seamlessly fit into your home décor. This item is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 31, 2017. This model will run you $99, which is noticeably cheaper than the first generation was just recently.
The Echo Plus is a brand-new model. It looks more like the first-generation Echo that we’ve gotten used to, but it is hiding a pretty big upgrade: the Echo Plus has a built-in hub that allows you to directly set up and control all compatible smart home devices. Amazon is working to simplify the smart home setup process, and they are doing a good job. This model will be available in three color options when it is released on October 31, 2017: black, silver and white. It will cost $149.99 (closer to the price of the original first-generation Echo) and (at the time of this article) includes a Philips Hue bulb. Pre-orders are open now.
The Echo Spot is another brand-new family member. The Spot is basically what you’d get if the Echo Dot and Echo Show had a baby. It’s small and round like the Dot, but includes a screen like the Show. The design is meant to fit into ay room and any décor in your home, and allows you to see – literally see – your news, music lyrics, weather reports and more. All hands-free. The Echo Spot is available for pre-order now for $129.99 and will drop onto people’s porches in mid-December (just in time for some holiday video-calls with the family). The Spot is available in
a modest two colors; black and white.
The Other Alexa-Enabled Devices
While those devices lead the “new and exciting” pack, these other three are worth mentioning:
· Fire TV: The new streaming device supports 4K Ultra HD and includes an Alexa voice remote. Alexa can do more than search for content, she can order pizza for the big premiere, and turn the lights off when the show starts. It runs for $69.99 and will start arriving at doorsteps on October 25, 2017.
· Echo Connect: This is my least favorite new Alexa device, but I’m going to cover it anyway. Basically, this device allows you to connect your home phone line through your phone jack so you can make calls to any phone numbers. Kind of a dud to me, but I get that they are trying to push their calling and messaging feature. This will cost about $35 and will be available mid-December.
· Alexa Gadgets: In an interesting twist, Amazon is toying with a whole new product line – “gadgets” that act as accessories for the Echo devices. More to come on these, as they are still in the development stage; not much information is available yet. They will sell as a pair for $19.99, but to learn anything more than that, you’ll have to sign up to receive email notifications from Amazon. The gadgets are meant to enhance the level of interaction you can have with your Echo devices for game playing.