In addition to Alexa-powered standalone hardware in the Echo series, Amazon also announced a whole bunch of Alexa-integrated products. From a new AmazonBasics-branded smart microwave to the Amazon Smart Plug, there are tons of new auxiliary devices landing for the Alexa ecosystem in the next few months.
The Echo branding is getting a bit diluted these days, and with the torrent of hardware announcements from Amazon today, we thought it best to break things into at least three categories: Standalone Alexa/Echo hardware, Alexa accessories, and Fire TV stuff.
Amazon's first-party accessories brand, AmazonBasics, provides good and cheap options for a wide variety of products from chargers and cables to bed sheets and puppy pads. Apparently, that now includes an Alexa-connected microwave.
The AmazonBasics Microwave includes a bunch of presets for voice-controlled cooking, and it also has Amazon's Dash functionality for reordering
food popcorn. There's even an "Ask Alexa" button that Amazon is making a whole lot of noise about, in case you'd prefer not to use the Alexa hotword in your microwave-related queries. And, of course, it's a microwave, with 10 power levels, a built-in timer, a child lock, and turntable.
The AmazonBasics Microwave isn't too expensive at $60, with availability set for November 14th, though pre-orders are open now.
The expansion in Alexa Multi-Room Music compatibility is accompanied by the new Echo Sub. With a network of Alexa-powered speakers, you'll also be able to augment bass with Amazon's surprisingly HomePodesque standalone wireless subwoofer.
There's no mention of things like microphones or Alexa support associated with the Echo Sub, so standalone use is probably out of the question. The Echo Sub can be connected to other devices with either a 2.1 or 1.1 pairing, according to Amazon. I'm not sure if that means you can just configure grouped devices as specific channels/mono with it, or if there's a literal 3 device limit for groups including the Echo Sub, but presumably, we'll see once they land.
The Echo Sub runs $130, with pre-orders open now over on Amazon, and an October 11th anticipated release.
Echo Link and Echo Link Amp
Like the Echo Input, Amazon's new Echo Link is meant to plug into your existing hardware. In this case, it sports a handful of inputs and outputs to integrate with your home receiver system. The Echo Link Amp is pretty much the same thing, but — as the name suggests — with its own built-in 60W two-channel amplifier and speaker binding posts for direct connection to speakers. They both share a handful of analog, optical, coax, 3.5mm headphone, and subwoofer outputs, as well as analog, optical, and coax inputs.
Again, Amazon hasn't made any mention of microphones or standalone functionality for the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp so you won't be chatting up Alexa via these little black boxes, but they do integrate into that system for audio playback and control.
The company is also introducing a new device for separate, standalone speakers, giving them the same Alexa-powered functionality. The $35 Echo Input adds Amazon's voice-controlled assistant to other external speakers via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio — sort of like a Chromecast audio, but with Amazon's assistant, a four-mic array, and a lot more utility.
Echo Wall Clock
The Echo Wall Clock is a clock. Its distinguishing characteristics are its increased price ($30), and its ability to display the time remaining for timers on paired Echo devices. In fact, so far as I can tell, it doesn't actually have any Alexa functionality built into it, it's just a display for timers and the time.
There isn't a product page for the Echo Wall Clock over on Amazon just yet, but there is a page for registering interest in future notifications. According to the press release, it will be available "later this year."
Amazon Smart Plug
The simplest and cheapest of Amazon's new hardware is the new Amazon Smart Plug. It's the first device to feature Amazon's new "Wi-Fi Simple Setup," which automatically connects new devices based on presumably account-associated saved credentials.
Amazon is calling it a "Frustration Free Setup" process, part of an overall strategy to make smart home setup easier in the coming years. As someone that had to deal with Belkin's utterly terrible Wemo setup process, I applaud Amazon for this new focus.
With the Amazon Smart Plug, you can turn your pedestrian, non-smart gadgets into Alexa-controlled hardware, giving your antique lamps voice-controlled convenience and making your morning coffee a lazy affair. They're pretty cheap, at $25. Like most of Amazon's new gadgets, they are available for pre-order now, but they won't ship until October 11th.
For more details on these and other products announced by Amazon today, feel free to peruse the embedded press release after the break, or Amazon's literally backward blog post on the subject.
Amazon Announces New Echo Devices—Add Alexa to Every Room and Your Car
All-new Echo devices make it even easier to add Alexa to more places in your home
Now, you can bring Alexa on the road with Echo Auto
New Echo companion devices let you see timers at a glance with a wall clock, add a subwoofer to your Echo devices, amplify or stream high-fidelity music to your existing home audio system, and add Alexa to your own speaker
New Amazon smart home devices offer more ways to interact with Alexa around your home—whether turning on or off your lights by voice with the Amazon Smart Plug or cooking with the AmazonBasics Microwave
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 20, 2018-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Today, Amazon introduced a new line-up of Echo devices, Echo companion devices, and Amazon smart home devices, making it even easier to bring the features and convenience of Alexa to any room and now, to the car.
New Echo devices include:
- All-new Echo Dot: The easiest way to bring Alexa into your home, now with a new speaker for louder and crisper sound, an updated fabric design, and still only $49.99
- All-new Echo Plus: A simple way to start your smart home with a built-in Zigbee hub, plus an upgraded speaker and a new design, and still only $149.99
- All-new Echo Show: An all-new design, upgraded speaker, a stunning 10-inch HD display, and a built-in smart home hub, plus all the glanceable features customers love about Alexa for $229.99. Read the press release: www.amazon.com/pr.
- Echo Auto: Bring the power of Alexa to your car, now available by invitation
New Echo companion devices include:
- Echo Wall Clock: Connects to your Echo device to visually enhance timers, alarms and reminders for $29.99
- Echo Input: Add Alexa to your existing speaker for $34.99
- Echo Sub: Add deep, rich bass to music playback on Echo devices for $129.99
- Echo Link: Connects to your home stereo system to stream high-fidelity music for $199.99
- Echo Link Amp: A 60W, 2-channel built-in amplifier to stream high-fidelity music to active or passive speakers for $299.99
New smart home devices include:
- AmazonBasics Microwave: A compact countertop microwave that connects to your Echo device to make cooking easier for $59.99
- Amazon Smart Plug: Control compatible lights, fans, coffee makers, and more for $24.99
“We want you to have access to Alexa everywhere—in your kitchen, in your living room, in your office, and now in your car or truck,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “Today, we’re excited to expand the number of ways that customers can add Alexa to their homes and their vehicles, so they can use Alexa to make their lives more convenient and easy—whether it’s asking for the traffic on your drive home, checking your email in the morning, or simply saying ‘Alexa, good night’ to turn off your lights and lock your door.”
New Echo Devices—Access Alexa Everywhere in Your Home and Your Car
All-New Echo Dot—Now with a New Design and More Powerful Sound—Still Just $49.99
The next-generation Echo Dot (amazon.com/echodot) features a new fabric design and more powerful sound—and it is still the best way to add Alexa to any room. With an all-new curved shape and fabric finish, Echo Dot is available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone, letting customers easily mix and match. The new Echo Dot plays music louder with richer sound, all in a compact design. Put an Echo Dot in every room to ask for information or the weather, play your favorite music in a multi-room music grouping, set timers and alarms, and control compatible smart home devices.
All-New Echo Plus—New Design, Upgraded Sound, Built-In Smart Home Hub and More Ways to Control Your Smart Home—Still Just $149.99
With its built-in Zigbee smart home hub, the all-new Echo Plus (amazon.com/echoplus) makes setting up compatible smart home devices easy. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and setup compatible lights, locks, sensors, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps. Echo Plus now includes an embedded temperature sensor, so you can set temperature-based routines using other smart home devices. For example, when the living room reaches 80 degrees, Alexa can send a notification to your phone and turn on a connected fan.
With Wi-Fi simple setup, you can automatically connect compatible smart devices to your Wi-Fi network and Alexa in a few easy steps. All you need to do is power on the smart device and it will recognize and connect your device to your Wi-Fi network using a Wi-Fi password that you have saved in your Wi-Fi Locker. Wi-Fi simple setup is available with new Echo devices, the new Amazon Smart Plug, and the AmazonBasics Microwave.
Echo Plus has a larger 3” neodymium woofer and increased back volume so that the bass feels stronger and the mids and highs are clearer. It also features an all-new fabric design and is available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone.
Echo Auto—Available by Invitation for a Special Price of $24.99
Echo Auto (amazon.com/echoauto) is an easy and affordable way to add the power of Alexa to your car or truck. With an eight-microphone array designed for in-car acoustics and speech recognition technology, Echo Auto lets Alexa hear you over music, A/C, and road noise. The device is powered by your car's 12V power outlet or USB port, and connects to your stereo system through a 3.5 mm audio jack or Bluetooth connection. It connects to Alexa through the Alexa app on your smartphone and uses your existing phone plan to access a range of features such as music, navigation, calling, and more.
With Echo Auto in your car or truck, just ask Alexa to hear your morning news, listen to an Audible book on your commute, get the latest traffic updates, and more. You can also set a routine that turns on your lights when you pull into the driveway, set reminders to pick up your dry cleaning, add errands to your to-do list and check them off when they’re complete, build your shopping list or manage your calendar—all while your eyes stay on the road.
Echo Companion Devices—Enhance your Experience with Alexa
Echo Wall Clock – See Timers at a Glance—Just $29.99
Echo Wall Clock (amazon.com/echowallclock) helps keep you and your family organized at home. Use your voice to start a timer with your compatible Echo device and easily see how much time is remaining on your clock. The 60 LED ring can display multiple timers for cooking, countdown to a family event, and show visual animations for alarms and reminders to keep you on schedule. The 10-inch battery powered clock connects to your Echo via Bluetooth, automatically syncs to the correct time, and is a perfect companion for the kitchen, family room, home office, or any room in your home with a compatible Echo device.
Echo Input—Add Alexa to your own Speaker—Just $34.99
Echo Input (amazon.com/echoinput) lets you add Alexa to your existing speaker. Echo Input connects to your speaker through a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth, and features a four-microphone array so you can talk to Alexa from across the room. Echo Input is just 12.5mm tall, so it blends easily into every room. Unlike Echo Dot which has a built-in speaker, all audio is played through the connected speaker rather than through Echo Input itself. When connected to Echo Input, your speaker can be added to a new or existing multi-room music group. Echo Input will be available in black and white.
Echo Sub—Powerful Subwoofer for your Echo—Just $129.99
Echo Sub (amazon.com/echosub) is the first wireless Echo subwoofer for those who want to pump up the bass when listening to music on their existing or new Echo devices. You can connect Echo Sub to compatible Echo devices to create a 1.1 or 2.1 pairing for stereo sound. Plus, with the equalizer feature you can adjust the bass, mid-range, and treble of the pairing simply by using your voice. Just say, “Alexa, turn up the bass.”
Echo Link and Echo Link Amp—Stream High-Fidelity Music to your Speakers or Stereo System —Just $199.99 and $299.99
Echo Link is an audio component that connects to your high-fidelity stereo system to stream music services. Echo Link includes analog, optical, coax, headphone 3.5mm, and subwoofer line-outs; and analog, optical, and coax line-ins. It has a volume knob for granular control, an Ethernet port for reliable connectivity, and support for multi-room music through Alexa.
Echo Link Amp is Echo Link with a built-in 60W, 2-channel amplifier. Additionally it has left-right speaker binding post outputs to support wiring directly to passive and non-powered speakers.
Both Echo Link and Echo Link Amp can be controlled through the Alexa app or another Echo device in your home. Simply say, “Alexa, turn up the music in the living room,” to listen to tunes through your existing stereo system.
New Smart Home Devices
AmazonBasics Microwave—Now Simply Ask Alexa to Start Cooking—Just $59.99
The AmazonBasics Microwave (amazon.com/amazonbasicsmicrowave) is a compact countertop microwave that connects to your Echo device and makes cooking easier by integrating the simplicity and convenience of voice. Features include:
- Cook with your voice: With AmazonBasics Microwave, ask Alexa to reheat, defrost, or microwave for your desired cook time and power level. Plus, use a variety of quick-cook voice presets such as, “Alexa, microwave two potatoes” or “Alexa, reheat a cup of coffee” and the AmazonBasics Microwave takes care of the rest. Since Alexa is always getting smarter, new quick-cook voice presets will be added regularly.
- Never run out of popcorn: Now you don’t have to keep track of how much popcorn is in your pantry or worry about running out for family movie night. AmazonBasics Microwave is integrated with Amazon Dash Replenishment and with the Auto Popcorn Replenishment feature, can automatically reorder popcorn before you run out.
- The “Ask Alexa” button: When the built-in Ask Alexa button is pressed, your paired Echo device wakes up and will begin listening for a microwave command. Simply press and say “two minutes and 30 seconds on medium” and AmazonBasics Microwave starts cooking. With the Ask Alexa button, there’s no need to say “Alexa” or “microwave.”
In addition to offering customers a simpler way to cook, the AmazonBasics Microwave demonstrates how other device makers can use the Alexa Connect Kit to create smart home devices. The AmazonBasics Microwave is the first device built using Alexa Connect Kit and highlights how device makers can quickly and easily build smart devices with features and services customers want. The Alexa Connect Kit enables device makers to create high-quality, Alexa-connected devices easily, quickly, and economically, without managing cloud services or complicated firmware. Learn more about Alexa Connect Kit: www.developer.amazon.com.
Amazon Smart Plug—Just $24.99
With the Amazon Smart Plug (amazon.com/amazonsmartplug), use your voice to control your lights, fans, coffee maker, and more. The Amazon Smart Plug is the first Wi-Fi smart plug to use Wi-Fi simple setup, making it easy to start – and expand – your smart home with connected devices. All you need is a compatible Alexa-enabled device like Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablet, Sonos One, or even just the Alexa app on your phone to get started. From there, easily set a routine that turns your lights on at 6:00am and your lights off at 10:00pm; and with multiple Amazon Smart Plugs, you can control multiple outlets.
Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Sub are available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping next month. Echo Auto is available by invitation and will start shipping later this year.
Echo Wall Clock, Echo Input, and Echo Link will be available later this year, and Echo Link Amp will be available in early 2019. Customers can sign up today to be notified when they are available.
AmazonBasics Microwave is available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping later this year. Amazon Smart Plug is available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping next month.
The new devices announced today join the all-new Echo Show, Echo, and Echo Spot to create the Echo family of devices. Amazon also introduced new Alexa features that will roll out to Echo devices in the coming weeks. Read the press releases: www.amazon.com/pr.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.
For a live blog of today’s news, visit: https://blog.aboutamazon.com/devices/amazon-devices-event-september-2018.
Echo Link, Echo Link Amp, and Echo Wall Clock have not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. These devices are not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180920005801/en/
Source: Amazon.com, Inc.