Story image

Amazon introduces the new and improved Echo Plus

Three years ago, Amazon introduced Echo and Alexa, offering a new way to interact with technology using just your voice.

Today, Amazon introduced the next generation of the Echo: the all-new Echo with a new design and improved sound for and the Echo Plus with a built-in smart home hub.

Tom Taylor, Amazon Alexa SVP says, “Three years ago we introduced the first Echo, powered by Alexa, with a goal to fundamentally simplify and improve the way customers interact with their homes.

“Today, Alexa can make calls, play music in every room, turn on your lights, and even order you a pizza, but it’s still day one, and today we’re making Echo and Alexa even better.”

“The all-new Echo and Echo Plus deliver better sound, all new far-field technology, and new features we think customers will love.”

With an all-new compact design, the Echo fits easily into any room in a user's home while delivering next-generation far-field performance and improved room-filling sound.

Echo combines an all-new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5” down-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room, all in a smaller design.

The new Echo uses Amazon’s second-generation far-field technology, which features better wake word processing, improved beamforming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation. 

The Echo far-field technology works to detect the wake word from across the room even in the noisiest parts of your home.

With its built-in smart home hub, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easy. 

Users just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps. 

This simple set-up works with a variety of ZigBee products from leading brands such as Philips Hue, GE, Kwikset, and more. 

To help get a smart home started, Amazon customers will receive a Philips Hue smart lightbulb with the purchase of an Echo Plus.

Alexa Routines allow users to automate a series of customisable actions using a single voice command of their choice.

Users no longer need to remember the specific name of a smart device or group of smart devices to control them. 

Now they can place their Echo and smart devices into smart home groups, which enables Alexa to act intelligently on your request, making your interactions with your smart home more natural and effortless.

Tens of thousands of developers are building skills for Alexa using the Alexa Skills Kit, and today there are over 25,000 third-party skills available for Alexa. 

Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza, requesting a ride, tracking your fitness, controlling your TV, and more.

Valve stops Steam Link hardware sales; promotes Android app instead
Valve announced that its supply of Steam Link hardware has sold out – and by the looks of it, it won’t be making any more.
Hands-on review: Spyro Reignited Trilogy brings back the PSOne icon
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a great remake that features new school graphics with old fashioned style of gameplay.
Don't let criminals ruin your online shopping
It’s that time of year again. Not only have New Zealanders developed a bit of a taste for sales like black Friday and cyber Monday, the holiday season is well upon us.
Student app Niesh gets $1m funding windfall
“We’re a data driven company, and we’re using what we know to benefit students and the companies giving them rewards, discounts, and jobs,” explains co-founder Jae Yoo.  
NZ-grown fitness app draws on augmented reality
“I started working on creating an AR app over a year ago starting with just fitness. But as we moved on, it made sense to add in special features."
NZ's online merchants can now offer Google Pay
With Google Pay, customers will be able to speed through checkout with just a few clicks."
Hands-on review: Intel Core i7 8086K Limited Edition
Whilst I’ve seen commemorative coins and stamps, I’ve never seen a commemorative CPU. Intel’s Core i7 8086K is exactly that.
Hands-on review: Logitech G1 Pro Gaming Headphones and Mouse
For the serious gamer, this kit will have you happily spreading mayhem in glorious surround sound.