Amazon releases new Echo/Alexa devices

Amazon announced a ton of new connected devices today for their Alexa ecosystem, including the first serious revision of the basic Echo (now $99) and the Echo Plus, an Echo with smart home hub built in. Also announced is the Echo Spot, a new form factor for a screen-bearing Echo with camera. The somewhat odd ones are the Echo Connect, a VOIP box that connects a landline to an existing Echo device in the home. The Connect then allows the Echo to act as a smart speakerphone, enabling voice-controlled dialing and the like. Potentially huge for accessibility, it’s an unusual product for the Echo ecosystem.

 

But not quite as odd as the Echo Buttons, which are 2-for-$20 accessories for playing games with an existing Echo. The idea is to use them like buzz-in buttons on game shows, with the Echo acting as a gamemaster for trivia games and the like.

I suppose the Buttons + Echo might make for a fun library trivia night activity? Let me know if you plan to try it out at your library.

Source: Amazon debuts redesigned $99 Echo, plus a slew of new Echo devices, too | Ars Technica

Amazon’s cheaper Echo Dot


If you’ve been looking for a way to test Amazon’s voice assistant/AI/Machine Learning gizmo Alexa, here’s the cheapest way yet to give it a try.

Amazon is unveiling an all-new, second-generation Dot today that’s priced at just $49.99. Just like the previous Dot, you can use the tiny puck-like device to add the Alexa voice assistant to existing speakers. Amazon is releasing the new Echo Dot in both black and white, with a more powerful, completely redesigned voice processor.

Source: Amazon’s cheaper Echo Dot improves voice recognition, available in black and white – The Verge