Amazon Advances Next Generation Echo Devices

Amazon is introducing a new generation of Alexa voice-controlled Echo devices, including a premium model with additional smart home capabilities.

The all-new Echo, with a new design and improved sound, will retail for $99.99, and Echo Plus, with a built-in smart home hub, will retail for $149.99.

The basic Echo model provides a more compact design as well as a variety of shell colors and finishes to fit with various home décor preferences. It offers far-field performance and improved sound generation, Amazon noted.

In addition to upgraded audio, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easier, according to Amazon. Users only have to say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically find and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs, switches and related smart home products without the need for additional hubs or apps. The set-up process works with a variety of ZigBee products from brands such as Philips Hue, GE and Kwikset. To give customers a head start on smart home, customers will receive a Philips Hue smart light bulb when they purchase an Echo Plus while supplies last.

“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,” said Tom Taylor, svp/Amazon Alexa. “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.”