Alexa… Everywhere — Company releases host of new devices with built-in virtual assistant

Amazon’s host of new and updated products. (Photo: Amazon)

E-commerce giant Amazon is extending its tentacles further into the hardware market with a slew of new and upgraded products. Back in September, Amazon hosted an event where various products were showcased. Among the plethora of hardware were some truly bizarre, yet futuristic devices all designed to bring Alexa (Amazon’s digital assistant) to more devices.

First, on the list are hardware Amazon calls “Day 1 Editions.” These two devices will be available in limited quantity and on an invite-only basis.

Amazon Echo Frames enable Alexa on the go. (Photo: Amazon)

The Echo Frames are Amazon’s Alexa glasses. No, they’re not Tony Stark, E.D.I.T.H, HUD overlay glasses, nor do they have cameras or screens in the lenses. They’re just glasses, and a “discreet” way to have Alexa…on your face. The Echo Frames have specially designed microphones to hear voice prompts and speakers that direct Alexa’s voice toward your ears. At only 31 grams, they shouldn’t be too heavy. The glasses will pair with a smartphone over Bluetooth. You can also turn off the mics by double-pressing a button on the glasses. Additional features include music and podcast playback as well as VIP notifications that allow only certain alerts to be read aloud to you.

The Echo Frames will be US$180 and are available by invitation only.

Amazon’s Echo Loop smart ring. (Photo: Amazon)

The Echo Loop is the second, interesting Amazon, “Day 1 Editions” product. It’s a new smart ring with Alexa of course. The ring has a titanium frame and houses two microphones for voice commands, a haptic engine that vibrates when notifications come in, and a button to summon Alexa. You can talk into the ring and hear Alexa responses. Amazon says the ring is water-resistant but doesn’t recommend showering or swimming in it. The device is US$130 and is available by invitation only.

Amazon’s “Day 1 Editions” are sort of a trial run to see how users react to the tech.

The Amazon Echo Studio has 5 speakers for 3D sound. (Photo: Amazon)

Next on the list of is a new smart home speaker. The Echo Studio is positioned to take on Apple’s Home Pod. It’s equipped with three mid-range speakers, one front tweeter and a 5.25-inch bass. It also supports Dolby Atmos for clarity and 3D sound. It uses built-in microphones to gauge the size of the room so it can provide an optimal sound experience. You can also use the mics to call on Alexa. The Echo Studio costs US$200 and will be available on November 7.

The Amazon Smart Oven and bundled Echo Dot. (Photo: Amazon)

Another demonstration of Alexa integration is the new Amazon Smart Oven. It’s a “4-in-1 convection oven, microwave, air fryer, and food warmer.” When paired with a compatible Echo device, the oven can be controlled by voice. Alexa can tell you when your food is done, or if the temperature is right for cooking. The Alexa app can scan select packages and the Smart Oven’s built-in presets will set the conditions just right for the meal.

Amazon Echo Buds. (Photo: Amazon)

Amazon’s foray into sound tech includes new earbuds. The Echo Buds are Amazon’s true-wireless earbuds and come with Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology and have a sealed, in-ear design for noise isolation. The Buds can summon Alexa hands-free when paired with a smartphone. They also allow work with Siri and Google Assistants if you press and hold the earbuds. These will retail for US$130 USD and will be available October 30.

Those weren’t the only products Amazon showcased. Others of note are:

  • Echo Show 8 – A High Definition 8-inch display with Alexa
  • Echo Flex – a small, plug-in smart speaker with a USB-C port and built-in Alexa
  • Eero mesh WiFi system – new WiFi system designed to eliminate internet dead-zones.

Amazon has once again flooded the tech space with their devices. The company seems determined to put Alexa on every device in the home and on the go.

— Written by Renor C.