Amazon Launches New Echo, Echo Plus

Amazon wants to be the brains of your home.

And, to accomplish that, the eCommerce firm has unveiled two new Echo products available for pre-order today:  The newly designed Echo for $100 and the Echo Plus with a built-in smart home hub for $150.

The Echo Plus
The Echo Plus

“Three years ago we introduced the first Echo, powered by Alexa, with a goal to fundamentally simplify and improve the way customers interact with their homes,” Amazon Alexa senior vice-president Tom Taylor said. “Today, Alexa can make calls, play music in every room, turn on your lights, and even order you a pizza. But it’s still day one, and today we’re making Echo and Alexa even better. The all-new Echo and Echo Plus deliver better sound, all new far-field technology, and new features we think customers will love.”

The latest version of the $100 voice-activated digital assistant is smaller than its predecessors and offers “next generation far-field performance” and “improved room-filling sound.”

The cylinder-shaped, Internet-connected device can still play a user’s favorite songs, give the weather forecast, update a shopping list and check the user’s calendar courtesy of Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant.

The new Echo sports more monotone hues this time around to blend in with pretty much any color scheme. Colors include charcoal, sandstone, heather gray, oak veneer, walnut veneer and silver.

The Echo Plus, which is $50 more than the regular Echo, is a smart home integration hub that lets users “set up their smart home in minutes.”

To get started, the user would say “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs and switches.

Echo Plus — which comes in white, black or silver — also has enhanced 360-degree omni-directional audio, with Dolby processing and second generation far-field technology for even better performance.

Although both the Echo and Echo Plus are currently available for pre-order, the devices will not ship until Oct. 31.

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