Amazon Australia announced the availability today of three new speakers to join the existing family of smart home devices, some of them pictured below. The Echo Studio is the only completely new speaker launched today, the Echo Dot and Echo are both revisions of previous models.
Let’s walk through the new range, from smallest to largest:
The new 2019 Echo Dot adds tap to snooze and an LED screen on the side which can display the time, temperature or a timer. Reflecting this additional bedside alarm clock functionality, the cost goes up to $99. Amazon’s marketing team must have worked for Tourism Victoria before because their example temperature is 24°C and sunny in Melbourne – much more realistic for most of the year would be 12° cloudy with light drizzle.
The middleweight in this lineup is the new $149 2019 Echo Speaker which has new fabric exterior options and is pushing into the turf of the Echo Plus matching its bigger brother’s 3-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter. Based on this you’d have to guess that the Echo Plus product line is dead.
Last but not least Amazon has finally released a standalone $329 Echo Studio speaker which has a decent amount of power to rival the Google Home Max. Up till now Amazon has said that it didn’t need to be in that space because its audio industry partners created more powerful speakers than the Echo with Alexa built-in.
With five built-in directional speakers, Amazon claims the Echo Studio has been engineered to create premium sound with space, clarity, and depth. Its 5.25″ woofer and 330W of peak power is supposed to produce deep, rich bass by using the bass port at the bottom to maximize airflow and bass output from the woofer.
Echo Studio has a 1-inch tweeter and three 2-inch inch mid-range speakers that deliver midrange and high frequencies. Plus, it has Dolby Atmos decoding support, a 24-bit DAC and a power amplifier with 100 kHz of bandwidth for high-res, lossless music playback. Rounding out the features you’ll find a Zigbee smart hub inside and a 3.5mm/mini TOSLINK port on the side.
Like the Google Home Max, the Echo Studio also claims to automatically sense the acoustics of your space and fine-tune audio playback to deliver optimal sound – no matter where you place it in a room.
These 3 new Echo speakers are available for pre-order starting today for $99 Echo Dot, $149 Echo and $329 Echo Studio.
New Alexa Features
In a useful move Alexa is now able to recommend routines that you may want to set up based on your daily habits. For example, if you set your alarm for 6 AM and then immediately ask for the weather every day, Alexa will suggest setting up a routine so that the alarm is always set and the weather plays as soon as it goes off. When Alexa asks if you would like a routine set-up, just say “yes” if you agree and the routine is ready to go.
Coming later in 2019 if you’re curious to find out what Alexa heard say “Alexa, tell me what you heard” and Alexa will read back your most recent voice request. You will also be able to ask “Alexa, why did you do that?” and Alexa will provide a short explanation about her response to your last voice request.
Additional control for customers—Auto-Delete Voice Recordings – Earlier this year Amazon introduced the ability for customers to say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today” and “Alexa, delete what I just said”. They’re taking it one step further with Auto-delete available in late 2019, customers will be able to choose to have their voice recordings older than three or 18 months automatically deleted on an ongoing basis. This feature will be available in addition to the ability to access and delete voice commands individually, or all at once which customers have today.