Amazon introduced the next generation of Echo: the all-new Echo and Echo Plus with a built-in smart home hub. The new Echo features a compact design and improved sound, while the Echo Plus's smart home hub makes connnecting to compatible smart home devices easy. Other new capabilities include:
- Alexa Routines allows users to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command, such as "Alexa good night" to turn off the lights and lock the door.
- Enhanced smart home groups to make users' interactions with their smart homes more natural and effortless without having to reference the specific name of a smart device or group of smart devices to control them.
- Amazon has expanded Alexa calling and messaging to support free outbound calling to phone numbers with the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The retailer has also unveiled a new Alexa accessory called Echo Connect, which turns the Echo into a hands-free speakerphone for home phone lines.
- Echo Buttons enable new gaming experiences with Alexa. The buttons can be pressed to trigger a variety of multiplayer and interactive games via Echo Button-compatible skills.
The all-new Echo is available at USD99.99 and Echo Plus at USD149.99. Both will start shipping next month. Amazon customers will receive Philips Hue smart lightbulb with every purchase of an Echo Plus while supplies last.