Amazon Refreshes Echo Smart Speakers and Brings Echo Show to Canada

Judy Cobb
September 22, 2018

On September 20, Amazon held an event in Seattle to showcase its latest line of smart products, including a microwave capable of taking voice commands. They're also among the most expensive of the new Echo devices, at $199.99 and $299.99, respectively, but neither is on sale yet.

Furthering the notion of a hifi system built from separates (and not active speakers), the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp both offer a subwoofer output and a line-level input.

The Echo Sub represents a serious upgrade to the sound of the Echo Plus, let alone the standard Echo. Your speakers can also connect to the new Wall Clock (US$30) to provide you with Internet-powered time accuracy.

This microwave works with Alexa, so you'll be able to tell your Echo device to warm up a nice bowl of beans if you do so please. It is incredibly slim with a 12.5mm thickness and will be up on sale later this year at $34.99.

The Echo Sub isn't the most appealing device to look at - it's not even instantly recognisable as an Echo we'd suggest. So it can activate Alexa routines according to a room's temperature. The Amazon Smart Plug will be available in Amazon's Electrical Equipment immediately for right around $25 apiece, shipped on October 11th, 2018.

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Amazon has also announced a Skype app for the device, so you don't have to voice call from the Alexa app now. It can control your Zigbee smart home devices, and it's packed full of Alexa. The four new gadgets all adopt affordable price tags and have as their main feature, the Alexa smart virtual assistant which is integrated with all four products. On detection of specific sounds, it can alert you or your security provider.

"Amazon launched today what I believe is the industry's largest assortment of home automation products and added meaningful improvements to its services", said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.

It doesn't have built-in voice controls, but it can communicate with a nearby Echo. Priced at $59.99, the preorder for Amazon Basics Microwave has started already. You can just press the button and issue a verbal command, like, "Heat this up for 45 seconds", to get the timer going.

Updated speakers include the new Echo Dot, which Amazon claims is 70% louder than previous iterations and Echo Auto, which can connect through your phone to play on your cars own speakers while asking for directions. The Echo Auto will use your smartphone for data to stream the music you want to listen to.

Amazon seems to be pretty serious about sound systems now.

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