30 September 2020
Amazon's Echo lineup of products has received a refresh at the company's annual hardware event. These include Echo (4th generation), Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Show 10. All of these are powered by Alexa digital assistant but offer new features and designs as part of what's new.
Amazon's Echo smart speaker has entered into its fourth generation. The product design has been changed drastically as it now comes in a spherical shape. The announcement mentions that the new design will maximize audio quality. It further comes loaded with a 3-inch woofer and dual-firing tweeters. There is support for Dolby audio processing and it will be able to tweak the audio playback depending on the spatial awareness of the surrounding.
Under the hood, it features Amazon's new and custom AZ1 Neural Edge processor. It will boost up the machine learning performance and will result in on-device processing for a much faster response to Alexa queries.
The team has added a native smart home hub to the new Echo. This will allow it to support smart appliances, Zigbee, Amazon Sidewalk, and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). The Echo (4th Gen) has been priced at $99.99 with availability set for later this year. It will be available in Charcoal, Twilight Blue, and Glacier White color options.
The Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) is here with a design same as the Echo (4th Gen). The only difference is that it is quite smaller in size and footprint. It has a single 1.6-inch front-firing speaker that should deliver loud enough and clear audio. It is similar to the main Echo in terms of features but is priced relatively lower.
There is a special variant called Echo Dot with Clock that comes with an LED display. It will show the current time, alarms, and timers which makes it a good choice for the nightstand. It supports touch gestures where tapping on the top snoozes alarm. If you have kids, you can even opt for the Echo Dot Kids Edition. It features Panda and Tiger designs to choose from and comes bundled with a one-year free subscription to Amazon Kids+.
The standard Echo Dot will cost you $49.99 but for the Echo Dot with Clock, you will have to pay $10 more. Both of these will be sold in Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue colors with pre-orders already underway. The Kids Edition has been priced at $59.99.
The Echo Show 10 is an Alexa-powered Echo device with a 10.1-inch HD display. The unique thing about this new variant is that it features a rotating body with 360-degree support. It will make use of the camera and audio to track your movement so that the display panel is always facing you. This will be done whenever Echo Show will be used for tasks that require engagement with the display.
There is a new Group Calling mode for video calls which is a key addition considering the ongoing pandemic. The auto-tracking functionality will ensure that you are always in the frame regardless of where you move around in the room. Alexa already has support for Skype and Zoom will be added soon. It has been priced at $250 with availability around holidays.