Amazon's new Alexa goodies are launching today and two have already leaked

Gerardo Harmon
September 21, 2018

Not exactly a new product, but the popular tiny Echo Dot speaker is getting an upgrade.

Along with this very nice new appearance, the Dot now has improved audio with Amazon boasting that it will sound 70 percent louder than its predecessor. It's also been gifted a new mic array for better voice detection.

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For those desiring better sound, Amazon introduced the $129.99 Echo Sub, a subwoofer for Echo devices, which is also available for pre-order today and slated to start shipping on October 11. It will also have a large speaker at the back. Amazon Echo Dot was the second best-selling smart speaker. Amazon announced offline home control as well as a Whisper Mode for Alexa devices.

An Amazon Echo sits in a living room in an undated marketing image from Amazon.

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A range of companion devices were also unveiled, including the Echo Sub subwoofer, which helps boost the sound produced by connected Echo smart speakers. It will be rolling out related some software updates to Echo users over the next few weeks. While not everyone thinks an Amazon Echo with a ZigBee radio qualifies as a smart home (there's no Z-wave radio), Amazon is proud of the new Echo Plus.

At £75 (US$96), it seems like a fairly cheap way to make your Echo sound better, if you're already invested in the Alexa ecosystem. Background road noise, the sound of the radio, and other people talking can get in the way of Alexa understanding, hence the need to squeeze eight microphones inside. The description also says the plug can also be used to set up schedules for appliances and devices with the Alexa App.

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Just like previous Google smart speakers, the yet-to-be-announced Google Home Hub will be compatible with all smart devices available in the market right now. As the name implies, the devices are all apart of the Alexa digital assistant ecosystem, giving you more control over more parts of your smart home with just your voice, and giving Jeff Bezos more money to create schools where "kids are customers".

And that's your hardware lot. For example, by saying, "Alexa, bedtime", a programmed device could turn off the lights, play a lullaby and set the temperature to 65 degrees.

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"Unsurprisingly, Amazon and Google models dominated the best-selling list of smart speakers in Q2 2018", David Watkins, director of Strategy Analytics' smart speaker service, said in a statement.

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