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Amazon Makes Conversations With Alexa Seriously Smart And Echo Speakers Are Cooler Than Ever Before

Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa assistant has received the yearly dose of goodness. Amazon has introduced its new line of Echo devices as part of the annual Amazon Devices and Services updates for the year. The refreshed Echo devices now include the next generation of the Echo smart speaker, the new versions of the Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock as well as the Echo Dot Kids Edition, all of which get a new spherical design. The Echo Show 10 smart display also gets a major update, complete with intelligent motion that allows the display to move and follow you across the room. The virtual assistant that powers them all, Alexa, is also getting some serious new capabilities.

Amazon has confirmed that the new Echo smart speaker will be priced at Rs 9,999 in India, while the new Echo Dot (4th generation) will cost Rs 4,499 and the new Echo Dot with Clock (4th generation) will carry a price tag of Rs 5,499. You can start pre-ordering the new Echo Dot now with shipping expected to start around October 26. The pre-orders for the other new Echo devices is expected to begin in the coming days—and these will also ship later this year.

The new Amazon Echo Dot is up for preorder on

The New Echo Speaker Blends The Power Of Echo Plus

The new Amazon Echo speaker features a spherical design which is very different from the vertical designs of the Echo speakers over the past few generations. In fact, Amazon is combining the capabilities of the Echo and the Echo Plus in one device—at present, they are sold as separate devices in the current line-up. The new Echo gets a 3-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters which are placed at an angle for wider sound dispersion and Dolby audio processing, all of which combines to give it some serious audio firepower. The new Echo will also be able to do an automatic sound adjustment according to the acoustics and the layout of the room you place it in—this is something we have already seen in the Echo Studio smart speaker. Inside, the processing is handled by the first-generation Amazon AZ1 Neural Edge processor. Amazon says this all-new silicon module is purpose-built for accelerating machine learning applications, which means the powerful inference engines can run quickly. These include the all-neural speech recognition model that will be able to process requests much faster, allowing Alexa to be responsive sooner.

Each Echo speaker integrates a more capable smart home hub, with the jigsaw puzzle including support for Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon Sidewalk can help you set up new devices quickly and support for tracking devices such as Tile that can help you keep track of items you may tend to misplace often. The new Echo will be available in Charcoal, Chalk and Steel Blue colour options and continues to get a fabric finish.

Echo Dot And Echo Dot With Clock Get A Cooler Personality

The Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock also get the spherical design upgrade and are the next iteration of the Amazon Echo Dot line-up of speakers that have become the best-selling speaker, ever. Each Echo Dot integrates a 1.6-inch front firing audio speaker. The variant with the clock integrates a simple LED display that shows you the time, temperature, timers and alarms. The tap-to-snooze functionality that was available on the Echo Dot with Clock will now also be available on the new Echo Dot and Echo.

The Echo Dot is available in Black, Blue and White colour options. The Echo Dot with Clock is available in White and Blue colours.

Echo Show 10 Can Follow You Around

The Echo Show 10 smart display now gets a completely new design that basically melds together a base with an extension arm on which the 10-inch display is attached. In the base sits what Amazon says is a very silent brushless motor, that allows the display to rotate. This, will come in handy for video calls, as the display will be able to track and follow you to try and keep you in the frame at all times. This has a 13-megapixel front facing camera for video calls.

If you are worried about the privacy features, you get the ability to turn off the camera, a physical shutter to block the camera and even turn off the intelligent motion. Amazon further clarifies that the Echo Show 10 uses a fusion of audio-based localization and computer vision, all processed locally and securely on-device, to power the intelligent motion that keeps the screen facing you or detect someone when in Away Mode.

Amazon Takes Echo On A Green Journey

There is also the environment focus. Amazon, which is a co-founder of the Climate Pledge Friendly program says that the new Echo devices will all carry the Climate Pledge Friendly badge. They are made with 100% post-consumer recycled fabric, 100% recycled die-cast aluminum, and post-consumer recycled plastic. Amazon says that all all wood fiber-based materials used in the packaging for the Echo devices have been sourced from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources.

Amazon Echo users will also get a new Low Power Mode on their smart speakers and smart displays. This is designed to conserve energy during period when the Echo speaker or smart display may not be in use. New Echo speakers and smart displays will ship with the Low Power Mode while all existing Echo devices will get this feature as part of a software update that will be rolled out soon. Later this year, Amazon will also roll out the energy consumption dashboard that will log and present the energy consumption of all smart home devices in one place, within the Alexa app.

Alexa Is Becoming More Human, Or Is It?

Amazon showed off the upgrades that the Alexa assistant has received in terms of upgrading the conversational capabilities. All Amazon Echo users will get the new avatar of Alexa in the coming days, and Amazon’s focus is on trying to make Alexa converse more like a human—we may not always take each other’s name and will always ask if there is something that we don’t understand. As part of the conversational AI push, Alexa will now get a better grasp of context, and will ask when there is a gap in understanding. The advances in the neural text to speech tech that is the foundation that Alexa builds on gets new abilities to reason, as well as speaking style adaptation for more human-esque conversations. Amazon also showed off Alexa’s conversation mode which allows the assistant to be part of a conversation between humans using multi-sensory artificial intelligence as well as picking on visual and linguistic cues to understand if a query is directed towards it.

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