New Amazon Echo Alexa Devices Make Smart Houses Smart Homes

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Google Home Hub Features A 7-inch Touch Display; Comes With Google Assistant

Along with four new Echo devices, Amazon has also launched five new Echo Companion Devices.

Amazon Basics Microwave: For $60 I think most dorms will soon have this 700-watt, .7 cubic foot microwave that connects to Alexa so you can tell it to reheat a pizza or coffee.

Time to talk about all of the new Echo devices, including the new Echo Clock! Neither device has mics to listen to Alexa commands and depend upon the Alexa app on your phone or other Echo devices on the network. You can, for instance, set it up so that Alexa automatically turns on the fan if your living room reaches a certain temperature.

Dubbed Echo Input, the adapter comes with microphones on-board but lacks any speaker output.

To give your existing Echo speaker a deeper range, Amazon announced Echo Sub. It's also been gifted a new mic array for better voice detection. It is available for pre-order from today and will ship next month.

A connected microwave and wall clock, which can also be controlled using Alexa, were also announced. This is perhaps the biggest upgrade, with the 2nd gen Echo Show boasting a larger 10.1-inch HD touchscreen and improved audio with dual, side-firing 2-inch Neodymium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing. Apple's relatively closed approach has relegated it to third place as there are far fewer supported devices and they tend to be more expensive than similar options supported by Google and Amazon. The tiny Echo Input, which measures just 12.5mm tall so it "disappears into the room", is created to add Alexa voice control to an existing speaker via a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth. But the Amazon Smart Plug is naturally very compatible with Alexa, giving it that extra bump in easy convenience smart home tech thrives on. $25. Echo Link and Echo Link Amp can promise better sound, and are meant to replace existing receivers and amplifiers. Yet, the Home Mini and Echo Dot can do nearly everything the Homepod can do (and more if you have an Android smartphone).

Music is "the anchor tenant for Alexa", said Amazon devices Senior Vice President Dave Limp at an event held in Amazon's Spheres.

The Google Home Hub smart display will reportedly cost just $149, which is quite a little cheaper than the Google Assistant-powered devices from Lenovo and JBL.

And it's expanded its skillset in relation to streaming services, so you can ask Alexa to follow certain artists, say, and when they have a new album it will notify you.

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