Amazon announced a bevy of new products at its annual hardware event yesterday afternoon, revealing a Kindle you can write on, an updated Fire TV cube and four new Echo Alexa-enabled smart speakers, some of which are available to pre-order now.
The company revealed a new 5th generation Echo dot and Echo dot with clock, as well as a new white version of the Echo studio, plus a software update for the existing Echo studio.
One of the most interesting items on Amazon’s agenda was a new device called the halo rise, which is a bedside clock, lamp and sleep tracker all-in-one. It doesn’t yet have a release date but the rise is said to track your sleep using sensors which detect your body position and monitor your breathing patterns.
At the event, Amazon also emphasised its vision of developing products that fade into the background. “Ambient intelligence”, Amazon called it. A vision that appears apparent in its new Echo dot devices.
The updated range of Echo dot speakers haven’t merely seen improvements in audio, as we’ve come to expect from an annual upgrade, but they also include new sensors, such as a room temperature sensor and a touch-enabled pad on the top for gesture controls.
Unfortunately, the Echo dot’s arguably best feature has been reserved for customers in the US and Canada this time round. Those across the pond will find an Eero wifi extender built into each device, which could be a game-changer for those working from home.
When asked if Eero-enabled Echo dots would be coming to the UK, an Amazon spokesperson said that “As a global company, internationalisation of all of our products and services is incredibly important. We are working hard to make all of the features and devices announced yesterday available everywhere our customers want them.”
The announcement of new Amazon devices comes two weeks before Amazon’s next Prime Day sales event takes place, and we’re expecting to see the 4th gen Echo dot devices go on sale. If you’re interested in the new models, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the newest Echo smart speakers and when you can pre-order them.
Amazon Echo dot, 5th gen: £54.99, Amazon.co.uk – pre-order now, available on 20 October
The fifth generation Echo dot is the latest entry-level smart speaker from Amazon. The audio architecture has been redesigned, featuring a “custom full range driver and the highest excursion speaker of any Echo dot”, something that Amazon says delivers up to double the bass of the previous generation.
The new Echo dot also features new sensors, including a room temperature sensor, so Alexa can turn on a smart fan when it notices the room getting too hot, and an accelerometer for tap gesture controls. It also features the AZ2 neural edge processor, found in the Echo show 15, resulting in faster Alexa responses.
Amazon Echo dot with clock, 5th gen: £64.99, Amazon.co.uk – pre-order now, available on 20 October
If you want to see the time on your Amazon Echo instead of a faceless sphere, then the Echo dot with clock has also seen some big improvements. As well as the above updates to the fifth generation Echo dot, the Echo dot with clock features an upgraded 5x21 LED display with high-density dot technology. Amazon says this offers “a more vibrant and dynamic way to see information at a glance”. You’ll be able to see the title of a song or the name of an artist, a calculation, your remaining snooze time and even the weather.
Amazon Echo dot kids, 5th gen: £64.99, Amazon.co.uk – pre-order now, available on 20 October
The Echo dot kids version has also been updated, and now comes in new Owl and Dragon designs. If you’re a parent, you’ll be able to access parental controls and set daily time limits on use of the Echo dot, filter songs with explicit lyrics and review activity in the Amazon Parent Dashboard. As with most Amazon Kids products, the Echo dot kids fifth generation comes with a two-year warrantee and a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+.
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Amazon’s second Prime Day of 2022 is just around the corner, we’ve rounded up everything to expect from the sales event