Amazon unveils the Echo Auto and upgraded Echo Show, Plus and Dot
Amazon has just announced the Echo Auto – a brand new smart speaker – along with refreshed versions of the Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Dot. The new roster of smart speakers are coming out at a competitive time in the world of consumer electronics, with Apple having just unveiled three new iPhones (and the Apple Watch Series 4) amid global fanfare.
Most of Amazon’s new hardware is essentially redesigned versions of pre-existing smart speakers – namely the Dot, Plus and Show – with attention largely diverting to the all-new, invitation-based Echo Auto.
The Echo Auto, whose tagline is “Take Alexa on the road,” is a smart speaker for you car, which allows users to add Amazon’s smart assistant to their vehicles. The Echo Auto can be attached to cars via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm headphone jack, and comes equipped with eight microphones, ensuring your voice is picked up among all that engine/road/general bickering noise.
Users of the Echo Auto will be able to use the device as a hub for music, news and audiobooks, as well as controlling devices back at home. If this all sounds like a mammoth undertaking, its physical manifestation is surprisingly self-contained; users control the Echo Auto via the Alexa app for smartphones.
Looking to get your hands on one ASAP? Alas, Amazon’s gone super exclusive; the Echo Auto is only available by invitation – for the time being, at least. The chosen ones can get their hands on the Echo Auto for a discounted pre-order price of $25 (£19). If you’re interested, you can request an invite (although this harks painfully back to the years of teenage house parties) via the product listing on Amazon. Devices are expected to ship later on this year.
As for the other devices, they’ve received quite the upgrade. The Echo Dot has a bigger 1.6in driver, more power and a sleeker design. It’s 70% louder, all for the same price. No complaints there.
The Echo Plus has also been upgraded, with an integrated temperature sensor, “more powerful” sound, and a bigger 3in woofer. As with the Dot before it, there’s no price increase.
As for the Echo Show – Amazon’s audiovisual smart speaker – it too has been refreshed. It’s got 3in more screen, with Dolby-porcessed sound, a 5MP camera and a 1280×800 HD display (the previous version has a 1024×600 resolution).