Overnight Amazon released a number of devices aimed at improving your entertainment experience. An all-new Echo Studio, Fire Cube TV, Voice Remote and large screen Kindle headline the announcements and show the intent of the new devices.
One of the early criticisms of smart speakers is they’ve often been “smart” with the speaker component being an afterthought. With the Echo devices, Amazon looked to address the issue of poor audio quality and the original Echo studio went even further. The new Echo Studio goes to another level, offering spatial audio which detects the acoustics of the room to tune performance to the space. This is on top of Dolby Atmos compatibility to enhance your viewing and listening experiences.
As with other high end Echo devices, the Echo Studio features a built-in Zigbee hub, which, in the future will allow a smooth transition when Matter takes hold of the Smart Home world.
The new Echo Studio is available from Amazon and JB Hi-Fi now for $329.00
Fire TV Cube
The new Fire TV Cube is the next step in the Amazon streaming content evolution. It offers great performance and features previously unmatched due to its increased performance. The device is said to be four times more powerful than the Fire Stick 4K.
Patrick Walker, country manager for Amazon Devices, ANZ said:
“The Fire TV Cube’s powerful processing and Wi-Fi 6E support deliver an incredibly smooth streaming experience, and HDMI input means you can instantly extend the simplicity of Fire TV and hands-free Alexa control to your compatible home entertainment system. With Alexa Voice Remote Pro, we’re making it easy to find a misplaced remote and get to the apps and content you love.”
That content is pretty vast too with access to almost all of the big streaming options including Netflix, Paramount+, Disney+, Prime Video, and more. With HDMI input and output, The Fire TV Cube can easily become the go-to device for your viewing at home.
The Fire TV Cube is available from Amazon as well as the usual retail partners for $219.00
Alexa Voice Remote Pro
Coming in at $59.00 retail, the Voice Remote Pro is a really neat addition to your streaming setup. While voice control is very good and available from the remote, buttons offer finer control as well as an instant response. One of the key features is that the remote is easily located through the remote finder button, or by simply asking Alexa to find your remote.
The Voice Remote Pro also has some nifty features to make your viewing experience even better:
You can personalise your remote by programming these buttons to create one-touch shortcuts to favourite apps, channels, and anything Alexa can do. For example, you could choose to program a button to have Alexa dim the lights, check the weather, or an Alexa Routine for movie night. Alexa Voice Remote Pro also includes motion-activated backlit buttons which automatically illuminate when the remote is picked up in low-light settings.
Finally, the Kindle Scribe is being added to the already large collection of devices. But this isn’t just another Kindle, it’s a big one and not just the months of battery life are big. It’s a 10.2-inch, 300ppi display with an automatic light adjustment which comes in at 5.8 mm thin; it costs a pretty penny though at $549.00
Aside from the screen size, the Scribe — as the name suggests — allows users to take notes throughout their books. The pen (basic or premium options) is designed to feel like a real, pen-on-paper experience, giving users a natural and tactile experience. With different on screen options for highlighting, underlining, drawing and erasing your notes, the Kindle Scribe could become a very useful study tool.
The additional feature for sticky notes, journals or template based notes can turn your Kindle from an entertainment device into a productivity tool. When the 2023 update makes these notes available from the Kindle app, your notes will be even more accessible.
Perhaps a minor concern is the magnetic attachment of the pen to your device, but that may well be a needless concern; we’ll let you know when we get our hands on a review unit.
That’s not the end of the announcements though; Amazon also added (5th Generation) Echo Dot and Echo Dot Clock costing $79 and $99 respectively. They both carry the features of previous generations of Echo Dot and continue the evolution of the platform and improved user experience.