Amazon Echo has been unavailable for weeks now on Amazon.com. The speculation that a new Echo product line was coming was well founded. In an event today in Seattle, Amazon announced a number of new products that both update and expand the Amazon Alexa product line. According to What HiFi out of the UK:
The 2nd-generation Echo is smaller than the original model and features a felt cover design. It also comes with redesigned speaker drivers in an effort to improve on the sound quality of the original model…The Echo Plus looks more like the original Echo but promises ‘better bass, better treble’, plus a ‘smart home built inside’. This smart home alludes to the ability to control multiple smart devices with just one Alexa command.
A Full Family of Amazon Echo Products
Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff was live Tweeting from the event. He had a series of images and one conveniently showed the entire product line discussed by Amazon today.
— Lance Ulanoff (@LanceUlanoff) September 27, 2017
Amazon continues to surprise. In this case, it didn’t just introduce an Echo update, it announced two updates. The first was the new Echo which will come in at a lower price point than the original Echo. The second is the Echo Plus which takes on the higher end audio quality segment that Apple, Harman Kardon and others are targeting. However, Echo Plus adds in native smart home capabilities which we will be interested to hear more about. The product page suggests it might displace products such as Logitech’s Harmony Hub.
Echo Plus has a built-in hub that seamlessly connects and controls compatible smart devices such as light bulbs, door locks, switches, and plugs. Setting up new smart home devices with Alexa is easy. Just say “Alexa, discover my devices” and Echo Plus will discover and set up compatible smart home devices.
Echo Plus is scheduled to retail at $149.99 in the U.S. and £139.00 in the UK. The second generation Amazon Echo is priced at $99.99 in the U.S. and £89.99 in the UK. Both products are less expensive than the first generation Amazon Echo. Below is a handy comparison page to provide a full view of the new Echo product line. We will dive more into the Echo Spot in our next post.
One more thing. Amazon has a habit of pre-empting Google events with announcements of new products that steal the thunder and undercut on price. Google’s big fall event is scheduled for next Thursday. Also, here is the new Echo video promo.