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Amazon slashes price of new Echo speaker to $100

Amazon says it is cutting the price of its Echo smart speaker to $100 from $180, improving the sound quality and upgrading its appearance with six new ‘shells.’

The announcement is the first of several Amazon is making at an event for journalists in Seattle.

The next generation speaker, which is powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, will have a dedicated woofer and a tweeter for the first time, as well as Dolby sound.

 

Amazon’s new $99 Echo has six ‘shells’ users can swap to customise its appearance. The next generation speaker, which is powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, will have a dedicated woofer and a tweeter for the first time, as well as Dolby sound.

‘We want to make sure we are building a product that everyone can use,’ said David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services.

The online retailer also announced a premium version of the device called the Echo Plus, which has improved sound and can act as the hub of a smart home and sell for $150.

The moves come ahead of a competitive holiday season in voice-activated gadgetry for the home. 

Google’s Home smart speaker sells for $129, while Apple’s HomePod, due out in December, will cost $349 and aims to deliver high-quality sound.

Amazon also announced a new array of voice-powered devices, including an Echo Connect speaker phone for $35 that connects to a user’s home phone that will allow you to place phone calls to landlines using your existing Amazon Echo units.

The $150 Amazon Echo Plus looks like the original Echo (a tall cylindrical unit) but will double as a hub for the smart home.

The $150 Amazon Echo Plus looks like the original Echo (a tall cylindrical unit) but will double as a hub for the smart home.

Amazon Buttons, which are used for playing games, and will be sold for $20 each. 

In one instance, Amazon showed how a family might play a game like Trivial Pursuit using the buttons to chime in for answers.

In a sign of the importance Amazon places on its new voice-powered assistant, the company said that more than 5,000 employees are now working on its Alexa system and related products.

Amazon also announced that its smart voice assistant Alexa will be coming to BMW cars starting next year. 

This should give users full access to Alexa right from their dashboards no matter where they are. 

The $129 Amazon Echo Spot was also announced, a round version of the Echo Show and has its own 2.5-inch display that can provide visual information (such as the weather or a clock face)

The $150 Amazon Echo Plus looks like the original Echo (a tall cylindrical unit) but will double as a hub for the smart home. 

Amazon said it will work with 100 smart home products out of the box.   

Amazon also unveiled a new Fire TV dongle that plugs into the back of a TV that supports 4K content and high-dynamic range video, and Dolby Atmos audio support. 

The Amazon Echo Spot was also announced, a round version of the Echo Show and has its own 2.5-inch display that can provide visual information (such as the weather or a clock face). 

It also provides access to Alexa and supports optional video-calling support.

The Echo Spot will cost $129 when it ships in December.

 

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