Amazon aims to make Alexa assistant bigger part of users’ lives

Yolanda Curtis
September 23, 2018

If you've always wanted a smart microwave, Amazon has you covered with its AmazonBasics Microwave that connects to your Echo device to get Alexa involved in your cooking. Created to accompany these products is a new line called Echo Companions that comprise of the Echo Link, Echo Link Amp, Echo Input and Echo Sub.

Echo Input is a new device that can turn any other speaker into an Echo smart speaker device - well, sort of.

Amazon is also going out to the garage with the Echo Auto, a $50 device that will bring Alexa capabilities to cars, accessing vehicle speaker systems via bluetooth and using the driver's smartphone to connect to the cloud.

The new Echo Plus, which is the premium, larger version of the Echo Dot, also promises clearer sound quality.

We are familiar with the device already, and now Amazon has launched the 3rd gen Echo Dot.

The Echo Dot has also been given a makeover in terms of looks, and the refresh will sport a new fabric design and will be available in three colours - charcoal, heather gray and sandstone. This product will be sold to buyers in India only early next year and the price indicated is Rs 16,407.

In a joint press release, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that both the virtual assistants will work together on Windows 10 and Amazon Echo devices. Amazon acquired the company previous year and has introduced a new feature called Stick Up Camera.

The Echo Plus has a $150 price tag, the same as the last generation flagship Echo. Though not announced for India yet, this will be made available in the United States in the coming days to select users on an invite basis. The new Echo Auto is created to sit on a car's dashboard and give directions or play music, while plugged into a car's power outlet. The device offers support for Firefox browser along with Amazon's on Silk.

As the name suggests, this device offers Echo functionality in your auto. Echo Auto can handle music selection, set reminders, check the driver's calendar for appointments, and includes the "drop-in" feature.

It was a much-speculated device that has turned up now and will be available for Rs.12,999 for India. Customers will be able to say "Alexa, answer the front door" to see and talk to whoever is at the door. Likely, in the future, all Alexa-enabled devices as well. There are two versions, both will be shipped November 14th: 2 tuners/500GB for $230, or 4 tuners/1TB for $280, both are up straight from Amazon right now. Using the Alexa app, the subwoofer can be connected to either one or two compatible Echo speakers. The Echo Link costs $199, and the Echo Link Amp is priced at $299, although neither are ready for preordering just yet. The online retailer and technology company announced Thursday its Echo Auto, which brings Alexa and its voice controls to the vehicle.

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