Amazon Just Announced A Buttload Of New Echo Gadgets

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

It might not feel like it, but it's been almost three years since the original Amazon Echo hit the scene. In the time since, the number of Alexa-powered devices has grown from a single smart speaker into an entire family including the Dot, the Look, and the Show — not to mention all the third-party devices out there. But now, Amazon has returned its attention to the device that got the whole smart speaker revolution started with an all new Echo (along with a ton of other new Echo devices, too).

Note: Yep, this is a US release. We'll update you with details on Australian availability when we know more.

Available in the US today for $US100, the new Echo's main improvements come in the form of second generation far-field microphones for more accurate voice recognition. The new Echo also received a face lift thanks to a more squat, redesigned body and the option to swap in one of six different fabric or wood veneer colour shells.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

This should let the second-gen Echo stack up much better against the Google Home, which for a while had been undercutting the OG Echo. And if you're considering decking out your house with multiple new Echos so you can use them as wireless speakers, Amazon is offering a 3-pack for $US250 ($US50) off).

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

In addition to a new lower-priced Echo, Amazon also revealed the $US35 Echo Connect, which works plugs into your landline and operates as a speaker phone, so you can call your mum, who refuses to get an Echo, via the landline while enjoying what Amazon hopes is a convenient Alexa experience.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

For those who want even more than what a standard Echo can do, Amazon also announced the $US150 Echo Plus, which adds full on smart home hub functionality on top of Alexa's traditional voice-command duties. The Echo Plus (which looks a lot like the original Echo, but comes in three colours) features Zigbee support and will come packaged with a single Philips Hue white light bulb to get people started on the smart home improvements.

It's also got improved speakers, including a tweeter and woofer for better audio. While we haven't had a chance to hear it beside an original echo, Amazon representatives claim the sound is noticeably improved.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

What might be the most unusual addition to the Echo family are the new Echo Buttons. They come in packs of two for $US20, but instead of being tied to a specific device or vendor like Amazon's Dash Buttons, the Echo Buttons are multipurpose gadgets that Amazon says can be used to play games or other activities.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Oh, and in case you didn't think there were enough new Echo devices, Amazon also announced the new $US129 Echo Spot, which is basically an improved Echo Dot with a circular 8cm screen. Like the Dot, the Spot has Bluetooth and a line out audio jack so you can connect it to something with more substantial speakers.

Despite the deluge of new Echo gadgets, there was one curious omission: Amazon's rumoured Alexa-powered glasses. As recently as last week, reports indicated the Amazon was working on a pair of glasses with bone-conducting speakers that could be tethered to your phone, so you can communicate hands-free with Alexa wherever you are. But it seems that device isn't quite ready for primetime, as Amazon made no mention of it during its latest Echo presentation.

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