Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Amazon Revamps Echo Smart Speaker Family


Echo Smart Speaker – Improved Sound & Voice Recognition

New forms of its Echo smart speaker with the possibility of improved sound and voice recognition has been announced by Amazon. Moreover, the simple model also enables in changing its shell and provides it with different looks which is a feature offered already by the opponent Home gadget of Google. A bigger Echo Plus enhanced by a `home hub’ enables it in controlling smart light bulbs together with third party products minus a separate data-linking gadget.

 The Echo Spot tends to have a screen which makes the video calls as wells camera feed promising. Sales figures for the earlier Echo line-up had not been released by Amazon, however researchers have recommended it. Its smaller sibling, the Echo Dot has been the best-selling device.

The Echo family is said to account for around 75% of the US market with regards to internet-linked speakers together with built-in smart assistant functionality that has been estimated earlier this month by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Till date it has been suggested that around 15 million devices have been sold. The latest Echo smart speaker is said to be smaller than its predecessor and has the advantage from a keen bass tweeter.

Six Swappable Shells/Various Materials

The Echo smart speaker comes with the option of six swappable shells with various materials and gadget is priced at £90/$100/100 euros which it around 40% cheaper than the earlier version and challenging the £129 Google Home gadget. The Echo Plus compatible with the Zigbee smart home protocol is priced at £140/$150/150 euros while the Echo Spot having a screen size of 2.5-inch together with a built-in camera is priced at $130.

The same will be launched in December in the US though has not provided a release date elsewhere. Blake Kozak from the HIS Technology consultancy had commented that Amazon has been the first agent in this market and hence had the benefit over some of those who had entered the same space. He further added that it was incredibly important for them to do a refresh, wherein the original Echo came out in 2014 and the hardware had not been updated ever since, though the software as well as the back-end services had been enhanced incessantly.

Most of the latest systems tend to feature Alexa assistant of Amazon and would not be seen as a risk. Thereafter several more premium systems had been announced with higher quality speakers and hence Amazon needed to be seen to contest the competition. This brought in the Echo smart speaker in the market.

Competing Schemes

Earlier, Amazon had mentioned that it tends to sell its Echo smart speaker approximately for the price it cost in producing the gadget and since its final objective is to utilise Alexa as a means of driving sales of the other goods and services. However, earlier this month, at the Berlin’s Ifa tech show, many big name manufactures comprising of Sony JBL and Panasonic had launched systems powered by the rival Assistant of Google. Additional competing schemes that are anticipated before the end of the year comprise of-
  • Siri powered HomePod speaker system of Apple
  • Invoke of Harmon/Kardon that will utilise Cortana technology of Microsoft
  • Novel speaker from Sonos which would be supporting multiple smart assistants
  • The likelihood of a new version of the Google Home when search firm tends to host an event on 4 October.


Link to Landline – Speakers into Speakerphones

Besides the Echo smart speaker, Amazon has also made an announcement of the gadget, Echo Buttons – small Bluetooth based buzzers, at its Seattle event which could be utilised for playing games on its speakers, inclusive of an upcoming version of Trivial Pursuit. Moreover it has also publicized the Echo Connect which is a gadget that tends to link to a landline turning its speakers into speakerphones. It has also announced an arrangement of bringing Alexa to some of the BMW’S cars inclusive of its Mini brand.

Geoff Blaber from the tech consultancy CCS Insight had stated that Amazon tends to have the momentum in the smart speaker and voice assistant area. This announcement had been developed to deepen its role in daily lives and this tends to raise the bar considerably for Apple and Google.

Amazon seems to be functioning exceptionally hard in exploiting on the success of its smart assistant hardware and that he is concerned this new line-up seems to be complex and the most knowledgeable consumers would be perplexed as to what feature they would be expecting for their money. The option is said to be immense with Echo, Echo Plus, Dot, Look, Spot, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick together with the Dash Wand. With the Echo smart speaker, Amazon has the opportunity to do for home automation what Apple had done for smartphones.

It was essential for the company to announce a smartphone which would be an enhanced gadget than the upcoming iPhone X and now a home assistant set-up which is tougher than what had been portrayed by Amazon

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