Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Here's what to expect — Amazon Echo event

Here's what to expect — Amazon Echo event

The world's largest online retailer announced updated versions of its Echo Show, Echo Dot and Echo Plus, as well as new devices such as a voice-controlled microwave and wall clock.

By first connecting with your smartphone, the Echo Auto gains access to Alexa and plays through your car speakers via either Bluetooth or the auxiliary input depending on your vehicle.

Amazon's latest range of smart home devices have been met with a positive reception by industry experts, who say it confirms the company's place at the top of the smart home market.

In reference to the latter question, the microwave provides an opportunity for Amazon to try out a new developer's toolkit and to do what the online retailer does best - sell you stuff.

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The Echo Sub adds a subwoofer to the Echo lineup, and can be paired with two Echos for a 2.1 stereo sound system.

Amazon has revealed Echo Auto, the first Echo device built specifically to access Alexa services from a vehicle. If you plan on getting the Echo Show, you'll be pleased to know that it comes with a built-in web browser that can be opened by using the commands " Alexa, open Silk" or " Alexa, open Firefox". Amazon, however, has a microwave using the technology that the owner can, "command the microwave to do things like defrost a half-pound of chicken, or set it up to automatically reorder a favorite type of popcorn on Amazon".

I was also intrigued by a new feature called Alexa Hunches, which will offer you suggestions based on contextual clues. It will be interesting to see how well this feature, coming later this year, will work in practice, and how Amazon will extend it beyond smart home devices. The Echo Sub will also be available in India for a price of Rs 12,999. Called Echo Wall Clock, it can be used for all the regular time-related tasks. I didn't count them all but there were 11 new devices launched at the event starting with a new version of the Echo Dot and ending with the Echo auto for your vehicle. Amazon claims it has higher quality speakers that can crank 70 percent louder.

The Echo Auto will start shipping to invitees later this year for a price of $24.99 and if you do not have an invite, you will have to shell out double the amount, which is $49.99 in order to get one for yourself. There's no ongoing fees for manufacturers, either: Amazon will cover that for the lifetime of the device.

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