Right now’s the large day at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. The corporate promised a day of massive bulletins, kicking issues off with the announcement of a high-end Echo, a long-awaited alternative for the primary era system. The product is the next finish model of the unique house assistant, designed to compete with Apple’s HomePod, however on the far more stomachable worth of $99.

The brand new assistant is on the market beginning in the present day, bringing with it a extra premium sound, together with a devoted woofer and tweeter, together with Dolby sound. The system additionally options the second era of Amazon’s far-field know-how, the microphone array the corporate makes use of so Echo can play properly with different units.

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As initially rumored, the product encompasses a higher-end material protecting, although what’s surprising, is that the product additionally options six completely different shells, so the Echo may be coordinated for varied rooms within the house.

The long-awaited replace is clearly a part of Amazon’s try and compete with higher-end house units and make the product extra than simply one other plasticky gadget. Although the far lower cost level (which additionally features a three pack for $50 off) is much extra consistent with Amazon’s long-standing place of undercutting the remainder of the of the trade.

Amazon’s by no means had a lot curiosity in making a killing from hardware — as a substitute, the purpose of Echo has at all times been getting Alexa within the house, and the model new Echo is not any completely different. The system does symbolize extra of a concentrate on audio. As the corporate famous throughout in the present day’s occasion, Echoes are actually a extra common platform for streaming Amazon Music than cellular units.

The brand new Echo addressed customers trying to get extra out of their system. The earliest Echo was plasticky, with a fairly dismal speaker (despite being marketed as a “sensible speaker”), and within the early days that was sufficient. In any case, there wasn’t something fairly just like the Echo when it first launch.

With the arrival of Google Dwelling, Apple’s HomePod and myriad different system within the intervening years, that’s clearly now not the case. As such, the flagship Echo has to do much more than simply sitting round answering questions.

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