Amazon announced a new line of Alexa devices today (Sept. 20) aimed at its higher-priced competitors that are focused on music quality, in addition to updates to its existing line, and pretty much everything else in your house as well. Oh, and also your car.
The flurry of products, from a subwoofer to a speaker-less microphone, basically gives Amazon an Alexa-branded equivalent to any gadget the home audio listener would need. Echos can now pair to each other, and the new Echo Sub subwoofer, to create 2.1 surround sound. A new speaker-less device called the Echo Input promises to add the smart assistant to existing hi-fi rigs.
Amazon’s existing smart speakers, the Echo Dot and the Echo Plus, have also been revamped. They are both slightly more stylish, covered in cloth like Apple’s HomePod, and the Echo Plus now has a temperature sensor. The Echo Plus also won’t need to connect to Amazon’s cloud to understand some speech. That means if your internet goes out, the Echo Plus still will be able to control lights.
And then come the home goods: Amazon is going to sell Alexa-enabled wall clocks, microwaves, and smart plugs. Amazon is even putting a mode into Alexa devices called Guard, where the Alexa detects the sound of breaking glass as well as typical smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Everything Amazon announced:
New Echo Dot: Louder, cloth-ier. $49.99
New Echo Plus: Cloth-ier, now has temperature sensor. $149.99
New Echo Show: Larger display, sleeker design with smart-home capabilities. $229.99
Echo Input: A microphone with Alexa that connects to existing stereo setups. $34.99
Echo Sub: 100W subwoofer, connects to other Alexa devices. $129.99
Echo Link: Connects to existing stereo amplifier and gives Alexa control. $199
Echo Link Amp: Replaces a 60W amplifier, with Alexa. $299
Smart Plug: Smart plug operated by Alexa, no microphone. $24.99.
Microwave: “Yeah, it’s a microwave. You can giggle, it’s fun,” said David Limp, Amazon SVP of devices and services. No microphone in the microwave; you have to talk to a nearby Alexa device. $59.99
Echo Wall Clock: You got that right, it’s a wall clock. And it automatically adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. $29.99
Ring Stick Up Cam: Outdoor security camera, made by Amazon-acquired Ring. $179.99
Fire TV Recast: Pairs with your TV antenna to capture and record TV, available for replay anywhere. $229.99
Echo Auto: An Alexa for your car. You can’t buy it until later this year. $49.99, unless you have an early access invite, which case it’s $24.99
What it means
Amazon basically sent the message that anything its competitors can make, it can make cheaper—and with a bigger ecosystem of connected devices. The company also announced a slew of tools for developers today, so different software and hardware products can integrate into the Alexa ecosystem. These products—and their price points— show Amazon wants to win the battle for the central voice operating system in your home, and that everything else will have to play nice with it.
Correction: A previous version of the article stated Alexa Guard was a product. It’s instead a software mode for Alexa devices focused on home security.