Amazon's big event: 5 game-changing announcements and highlights

Doris Richards
September 22, 2018

At a time when Google and Apple are talking up sound quality, Amazon needed to have a product that answered this need.

The AmazonBasics Microwave was unveiled at Amazon's Seattle event on 20 September, alongside other smart devices like a wall clock, an updated roster of smart speakers, and an Alexa device for your auto.

The event brought a bunch of new product announcements, and we got new Echo speakers, Echo Show, and even a microwave!

The hockey puck-shaped Dot is one of Amazon's best-selling devices, and with 70% better sound it's going after audiophiles.

But if Amazon has anything to do with it, there won't be a room in the house without an Echo enabled function. It expands on the Echo dot offering in capabilities and stature and comes in the same three new fabric colours. Amazon remarks that Alexa has "over 50,000 skills and counting", so we'd imagine that the assistant can perform most of those through the Echo Auto. Though not announced for India yet, this will be made available in the USA in the coming days to select users on an invite basis.

The new Echo Auto is an all-new smart Echo device for cars.

Echo Auto has a built-in 8-microphone stack designed for in-car acoustics, Echo Auto can hear you over music, A/C, and road noise.

NOTE: The Echo Dot and ALL items on this list can be found via this one link to Amazon.

Amazon's smart home hub has also been given an upgrade, with it becoming bigger and sleeker than before.

Amazon has also tweaked the UI to make it easier to control your other Alexa-powered smart devices using the Show.

The takeaway: Amazon has been really ambitious about its forays into TV - not only with its original shows and Prime Video service, but also its TV hardware, like the $120 Fire TV Cube unveiled in July, and this new Fire TV Recast.

Microsoft has just announced that Skype calling is coming to Alexa devices, and will be rolling out "later this year", so within the next few months. This will save you $25 on the listed $49.99 price that was announced for the auto assistant. Amazon's Smart Plug simply, er, plugs into any existing outlet and connects to a Wi-Fi network. The new Ring-branded Stick Up Cam security camera is going to retail for US$180 and will be compatible with Alexa voice controls down the track. It wants to be in your microwave, your clock, your auto, and even in your kitchen.

Amazon has been moving fast in the race against digital assistants fielded by powerhouse rivals Google and Apple to become the preferred way people interact by voice with artificial intelligence.

The central building block to smart homes of the future will be affordable smart gadgets and appliances -- that's exactly what Amazon appeared to be aiming at by launching 15 new smart home products in a matter of 90 minutes.

Aside from its A.I. -powered video chat technology, Portal will feature integration with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and let users play music, watch videos, see cooking recipes, and get news briefs. To know what is happening with other smart devices in a home, the Echo speaker needs to be connected to them. He won't like the answer: Google has a slight advantage on Amazon in the Q2 sales charts, although you could probably say financial prudence was the real victor as the cheap speakers won the day.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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