During Amazon’s hardware event this morning, the company announced new Alexa-powered Echo devices including new Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock models. One of the more notable upgrades is Eero Built-in for Echo Dot, which allows Echo Dot devices to serve as Wi-Fi extenders for existing Eero networks.
The Echo Studio — which now comes in a new color, Glacier White — isn’t getting hardware-level improvements. Instead, an over-the-air upgrade will bring spatial audio processing technology that builds on Amazon’s 3D audio to existing Echo Studio devices, designed to offer greater “width” and clarity than standard stereo audio. (Spatial audio is a feature of the Amazon Music Unlimited service, which costs $8.99 a month.) The smart speaker’s frequency range extension tech, another new addition via forthcoming new software, ostensibly delivers better playback performance by improving the mid-range clarity and deepening the bass.
As for the upgraded Echo Dot, which does feature new hardware, it has a redesigned architecture that squeezes a larger speaker into housing that’s the same size as the previous generation — leading to clearer vocals and twice the bass. An enhanced, brighter and higher-resolution display on the Echo Dot with Clock model shows more information, including the time. And new sensors — an accelerometer and temperature sensor — and Amazon’s AZ2 neural edge processor enable things like more tap gesture controls (e.g., tapping the top of the device to pause and restart music, stop a timer or end a call), asking Alexa for the room temperature and triggering temperature-based routines.
The new Echo Dot is also the first to ship with the aforementioned Eero Built-in, which adds up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to an existing Eero wireless network. Fourth-gen Echo Dots including the old Echo Dot with Clock will receive a firmware update that enables this in the coming months, Amazon said.
The improved Echo Dot will be available for $49.99, while the new Echo Dot with Clock will be priced at $59.99. They’re available for pre-order today and will ship next month alongside two new designs for Echo Dot for Kids, Owl and Dragon, both of which will come with a year of Amazon’s kid-focused content service, Amazon Kids+.
Amazon debuts new Echo devices, including Echo Studio with spatial audio by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch