Amazon adds new Echo devices in bid to dominate voice gadgets

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Amazon revealed a slew of brand new and updated Echo gadgets in the hope of spreading its Alexa virtual assistant even further into United Kingdom homes.

The tech firm is to introduce redesigned versions of its Echo Dot, Echo Plus and Echo Show smart home speakers - all of which are powered by voice-activated, artificially intelligent assistant Alexa.

Starting with the microwave, it's announced under the AmazonBasics line of low-priced products, as reported by TechCrunch.

Since Alexa is a cloud-based service, the Echo Auto needs to be connected to the internet at all times and hence uses your phone's cellular data network over Bluetooth connectivity to make this happen. According to David Limp, the senior vice president of Amazon Devices, the ubiquitous microwave was long overdue for an upgrade. Amazon unveiled Alexa in the Echo in 2014.

Another device enjoying better features at the same price is the Echo Show, which now features a 10-inch HD display and an eight-mic array. You can ask Alexa to check the news, play your favourite music, ask for sports scores, find out what is on TV that evening, or even find out restaurant hours or information, among plenty of other requests.

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The Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini, which are the most affordable smart speakers from Amazon and Google respectively, are actually still neck to neck. These include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, and an in-car gadget in addition to the devices noted above. Since the price remains unchanged, those who want an Echo Dot can now order the newer generation product without shelling out more.

The Echo Plus is available in three colours - Heather, Charcoal Gray, and Sandstone. Not just that, the company announced a Skype app for the device that will allow users to make video calls directly on the Show offering the same "drop-in" video chat capabilities as a year ago.

During the launch, Amazon demoed the Echo Sub with a pair of Echo Plus speakers and the volume did get loud enough for a room with around 50-100 people. Alexa Routine is a brand new feature that allows you to customize your daily routine.

Amazon's Echo line traditionally has been used for the company's line of speakers. In India, the Echo Show will be available only next year.

A quarter of United Kingdom homes now own a smart home device, and analyst IDC has predicted the smart speaker market to be worth more than 17 billion dollars (£12.8bn) by 2022.

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