Amazon have let us know about their new Alexa-controlled that’s heading to the UK.
Prepare yourselves for the redesigned Echo, the all-new Echo Plus with built-in smart hub, Echo Buttons, and an overhauled Fire TV.
Just in case you need any more reasons to buy into Amazon’s ecosystem, as of next year, BWMs and Minis will also be packing the chatty assistant.
It plays back video, although YouTube has now been blocked, and allows you to hold video calls with friends and family who also happen to own one.
To coincide with the launch, partners such as Just Eat, National Rail, BBC News, MTV, 7Digital, Sky Sports Super 6 and Liverpool FC have created Alexa Skills specifically for the Echo Show, allowing you to enjoy localised content when it begins shipping on November 16th.
The video-capable device is now available to pre-order in the UK and Germany for £199.99 and €219.99 respectively.
You also get to choose from a variety of shell colours and finishes to fit into your home’s décor — choices include Charcoal Fabric, Sandstone Fabric, Heather Grey Fabric, Oak Finish, Walnut Finish and Silver Finish.
Echo now has a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5-inch downward-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room.
Moreover, this is all packed in to a smaller design and at an even more affordable price.
Alexa can play music from leading services like Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn, and more.
Second generation far-field technology
The new Echo uses Amazon’s second generation far-field technology. This brings you better “wake word processing”, improved beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation.
The Echo far-field technology works to detect the wake word from across the room even in the noisiest parts of your home.
Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and it will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, plugs, etc. without the need for additional hubs or apps.
This simple set-up works with a variety of ZigBee products from leading brands such as Philips Hue, Hive and more.
Furthermore, you will receive a Philips Hue smart lightbulb with the purchase of an Echo Plus while supplies last.
Echo Plus has enhanced 360-degree omni-directional audio, with Dolby processing, to provide deeper bass and crisper highs for better audio clarity.
With Amazon Music, you can search for music by lyrics, time-period, or let Alexa pick the music for you.
Finally, as with the new Echo, Echo Plus features second generation far-field technology for even better performance.
All-New Alexa features
Routines are customisable voice short-cuts.
For example, say, “Alexa, good night,” and Alexa will turn off the lights, lock the door, and turn off the TV.
You can also create Routines based on the time of day. You could set Alexa to turn on the kitchen lights, start the coffee maker, and read the weather forecast at 6am every weekday.
Routines will be available for all Alexa devices including the all- new Echo, the previous generation Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus starting next month.
Call anyone with Alexa
You can now chat to friends and family using Alexa.
Just ask Alexa to call mum, and you’ll be connected to her Echo device or Alexa app.
There is also a feature called Drop In. Basically, this is like Alexa Call without having to wait for the other party to answer.
So, you can Drop In on your other half to see if they want a cuppa. Also, you could Drop In on your mate to find out when they’re setting off to the pub.
This might sound a tad intrusive though. Thankfully, however, you can turn it off at any time, select who is allowed to Drop In on you, and choose which devices are available for Drop In.
Alexa calling and messaging is rolling out across the Alexa family in the UK over the coming days, allowing current Alexa users to make calls and send messages to friends and family using Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or the Alexa app.
Echo Connect will work with your existing home phone service – either landline or VoIP.
Just ask Alexa to call anybody from your contact list – when you call, they will see your home phone number as the caller ID.
When someone you know calls your home phone, Alexa will announce their name from your contacts list—just ask Alexa to answer to start the conversation.
Echo Connect will be available in the UK early next year.
Echo Buttons – Alexa just got game
The buttons illuminate and can be pressed to trigger a variety of multiplayer experiences. There will be a catalogue of new Alexa Skills to play with Echo Buttons.
Echo Buttons will come in a two-pack, priced at £19.99, and will arrive in the UK in time for Christmas.
Echo and Fire 4K UK prices
Here is all the new kit coming to the UK.
All-New Amazon Echo
All-new design, improved sound with Dolby processing, second generation far-field technology and a lower price – just £89.99
Contains a built-in smart home hub for smart devices.
Price: £139.99, with a Philips Hue smart lightbulb included whilst supplies last.
Alexa with visuals. Get video flash briefings, music lyrics, smart home feeds and weather forecasts.
You can also make hands-free calls to friends and family – available in black or white.
Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD
Illuminated, interactive buttons to play Alexa games with friends and family, including Dungeon Escape and Beat the Intro – priced at £19.99 for two.