Last week Amazon had a surprise event where it announced new devices and places where its digital assistant Alexa will be. If you’re a fan of Alexa, you’ll be pleased to use her in more places than ever before. If you’re not yet a fan yet, these new places may be compelling enough for you to check out Alexa.
At the event last week, Amazon showed off new Echo devices, some of which were upgrades from existing devices and some of which are brand new. The company also revealed new skills, making Alexa more useful than ever before.
New Echo Devices
The brand new Echo Spot shows that tech can be both adorable and functional. The Spot is a smaller, round version of the Echo Show, with a screen that’s 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) wide.
Like the Show, Spot is a smart speaker with a camera, and a screen that can show search results, weather forecasts, song lyrics, recipes and more. With the Spot Alexa can both show and tell you information. You can use Spot to Drop In on other Echoes, as a baby monitor, and for video chats.
The home screen of Spot can show a clock so it can serve as a handy alarm clock on your nightstand or desk. You can even choose from different clock faces.
The Spot costs $129 on Amazon and can be ordered now with delivery to begin on December 19.
If you want a simple smart home hub that connects all of your devices, check out the Echo Plus. This new version of Echo has a smart home hub that finds compatible devices in your home and connects them automatically.
Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices.” Alexa will find them and connect to them.
After they’re connected to the Echo Plus, you can use your voice to command Alexa to control your home. No more fumbling through different apps, Echo Plus can be a hub to control them all.
Echo Plus also functions as an Echo, so you can use Alexa the same way you use the original Echo smart speaker.
This video shows how Echo Plus works:
Be sure to check out this list of Simple Setup compatible devices for Echo Plus. As of now, these devices include lighting, switches, and door locks.
Echo Plus is available in three colors from Amazon for $149. Orders are being taken now with delivery to begin on October 31.
2nd Generation Echo
Some people had been predicting that Amazon would introduce the next generation of the original Echo and that’s exactly what happened last week. The second generation of the original Echo is more decorative, with six different covers to match your decor.
This Echo has improved sound from the previous model, in a smaller size that’s about half as big as before.
The price has been reduced too, down to $99. A three-pack will cost you $249 with the code ECHO3PACK, in case you want to use Multi-Room Music to play music throughout your home.
Learn more at => Amazon Multi-Room Music Syncs Songs on Multiple Echo Speakers.
This video introduces the new Echo:
Orders for the new Echo are being taken now at Amazon’s website, with delivery starting on October 31.
Alexa in Other Places
Two new places where you’ll be able to find Alexa are in your music and car (if you’re getting a new BMW next year…).
Amazon Music App and Alexa
Alexa has come to the Amazon Music app. The updated app on iPhone and Android lets you use Alexa to control the music, volume and more.
You can request songs by name, or by genre. Ask Alexa to play relaxing music or music for exercising. Can’t remember the name of the song? Say the lyrics and Alexa will try to figure out what song you want.
Alexa on the Amazon Music app is currently available in U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia.
Learn more about how to use Alexa in the Amazon Music app at the Alexa on Mobile page.
BMW and Alexa
Future models of BMW and Mini cars will have Alexa built in to them, beginning with 2018 models. You’ll be able to ask Alexa while driving about the weather, news, and traffic conditions to work. You can even order food and control your smart home from your car while you’re on the road.
Any why not shop while you’re driving? Alexa in your new BMW can do just that.
This video demonstrates how Alexa will work in a BMW:
New Alexa Skill – Voice Calls to U.S., Mexico, and Canada
The Echo, Dot and Show have gained a new Alexa skill — being able to call phone numbers in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada for free. You can either ask Alexa to call people by name, if they’re in your list of Contacts, or you can speak the number for Alexa to call.
If you want to make and receive calls with Alexa using your home phone number, Amazon has you covered. The new Echo Connect plugs into your phone jack and your Echo speaker, then lets you use Alexa as a smart speaker phone. With Connect, your home phone number shows up when you call someone using Alexa.
Connect lets you answer calls on your landline phone number as well as make them. Alexa will announce the name of the person calling you, if their number is in your contact list.
This video shows how Echo Connect works:
The Echo Connect is available to order from Amazon for $34.99. Deliveries will begin on December 13.
Were you excited by Amazon’s announcements last week? Which one was most interesting to you? Will you get a new BMW next year so you can use Alexa while you drive?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!