Apple has just unveiled new iPhone and Apple Watch models at its hardware event. Google is expected to launch Pixel devices next month at the Made by Google event. On Wednesday, Amazon held its own mega hardware event to launch a wide range of Alexa-powered devices. The e-commerce giant wants to brings its Alexa voice assistant to almost every aspect of your life. It’s using Echo-branded and other hardware devices to get you to start using Alexa.
Amazon held the event at its headquarters in Seattle on Wednesday, Sept.25. It announced new capabilities for the Alexa AI assistant and showed off over a dozen Alexa-powered devices.
Alexa gets new capabilities
Amazon has added a lot of new features to its virtual assistant to make it more interactive. Alexa still lags behind Google Assistant, though it is far superior to Apple’s Siri. Amazon’s AI assistant will be able to detect your frustration. It will be able to sense when you get frustrated, and adjust its tone accordingly.
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The online retailer has also added a number of celebrity voices to Alexa. Samuel L Jackson will be the first celebrity voice to arrive on Alexa. Users will have to pay a special price of $1 per year to interact with Samuel L Jackson’s voice.
Alexa is also getting a multi-lingual mode, which would allow users to interact with the voice assistant in more than one language at the same time without having to manually switch languages. The feature will be available in three pairs. In the US, it will be able to speak in English and Spanish. In India, it’s Indian English and Hindi. In Canada, it would be Canadian English and French.
Amazon emphasized user privacy at the hardware event. It introduced some new privacy-focused features to reassure customers. The online retailer has been facing backlash since it was reported that the company was allowing its employees and third-party contractors to listen to consumers’ voice recordings without seeking their permission. Google and Apple have also been doing the same thing to improve their own AI assistants.
Now Alexa will automatically delete your verbal recordings every three months or 18 months. You can now ask, “Alexa, tell me what you heard,” and the assistant will tell you the most recent voice request.
Alexa-powered devices unveiled at the event
Amazon has unveiled its first premium smart speaker called Echo Studio. It features built-in Alexa microphones and Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound audio. The device has been priced at $200. The Echo Studio is going to compete with devices like Apple HomePod and Google Home Max.
The online retailer has finally updated its regular Echo smart speaker. The third-generation Echo has been priced at $100, the same as before. It features Neodymium drivers for better audio quality. It also gets a 3-inch woofer for stronger bass. Amazon has kept its design the same as older models, though it comes in a new “Twilight Blue” color.
Echo Dot with Clock
Priced at $59, the Echo Dot with Clock looks similar to the previous Echo Dot, but it features an LED display to show you time, alarms, timers, and temperature. You can check these things without having to ask Alexa.
Echo Show 8
Amazon also unveiled a new Echo Show 8 with an 8-inch smart display. It will retail for $130. The Echo Show 8 will sit between the 5-inch Echo Show and 10-inch Echo Show. Its display offers HD resolution and its speaker performance is the same as the 10-inch Echo Show.
The $25 Echo Flex is one of the smallest Echo speakers you can buy. It’s a tiny speaker that you can plug into a wall socket. Users can also combine it with other accessories such as a motion sensor and night light that will be available for $15. The Echo Flex also has a USB port at the bottom to let you charge your smartphone with it.
With a price tag of $30, the Echo Glow is one of the many Alexa-powered devices unveiled at the event. It’s a lamp that allows you to change the color with a tap. You can create dance party lights, flickering campfire light, and more.
The Echo Buds are Amazon’s wireless earbuds powered by Alexa. They will be competing with Apple’s AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. Priced at $130, the Echo Buds will allow users to interact with Alexa hands-free, on the go. Amazon developed the Echo Buds in partnership with Bose. They use Bose’s noise-reduction technology.
You guessed it. Amazon Echo Frames are smart glasses with support for Alexa. The Echo Frames are part of the online retailer’s “Day One editions.” It means the devices will be available only on invite-basis. They have been priced at $180. Users can also get their normal prescription lenses with the Echo Frames. Alexa on the Echo Frames will interact with you using direction speakers to ensure that people around you can’t heart it.
The Echo Loop is a smart ring that you can put on your finger. It supports Alexa voice assistant, and has been priced at $130. Amazon claims the Echo Loop is the “smallest speaker ever” on an Echo device. You can pair it with your Android or iOS smartphone. The Echo Loop uses haptic feedback to alert users about incoming calls, messages, and notifications on the smartphone.
The company also announced two Ring smart cameras and an Amazon Smart Oven, which is capable of air frying, microwaving, convection cooking, and more. Amazon also launched a pet tracker called Fetch and a new network spectrum called Amazon Sidewalk.