Amazon Smart Plug is a new accessory that adds Alexa functionality to "dumb" electronics.
While Amazon made dozens of announcements, these were the five biggest highlights from the show.
The hockey puck-shaped Dot is one of Amazon's best-selling devices, and with 70% better sound it's going after audiophiles.
Other new product announcements include the Echo Auto, a dongle that adds Alexa voice control to your vehicle; Echo Input, an accessory that adds Alexa to any speaker; Echo Link and Echo Link Amp, two home theatre accessories to stream high-fidelity music; and Fire TV Recast, a set-top box that can record over-the-air TV programming for free.
While the Echo speakers were expected to be the showstoppers, it was a microwave oven that drew everyone's interest. With the Echo Auto, it is rethinking how to bring Alexa to any vehicle with a nifty accessory.
The new Echo Dot comes with a fabric side in three colors charcoal, gray, and white. Both the AmazonBasics Microwave and Amazon Smart Plug are available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping next month (US). Though not announced for India yet, this will be made available in the United States in the coming days to select users on an invite basis.
Echo Auto has a built-in 8-microphone stack designed for in-car acoustics, Echo Auto can hear you over music, A/C, and road noise.
When's the Amazon Echo Auto out?The sound system is also upgraded as it now features two 2-inch drivers armed with a passive radiator and Dolby audio processing.
Amazon also wants you to use Alexa in your vehicle as well with the Echo Auto, a $50 device that will bring Alexa capabilities to cars.
"Amazon is doubling down on its strategy of integrating Alexa far and wide into appliances, consumer electronics and cars", CCS Insight research vice president Geoff Blaber said at the event. Yes, the boring appliance which no one thought would get a makeover. Announced at a price of $25, the device isn't too expensive too. Amazon's Smart Plug simply, er, plugs into any existing outlet and connects to a Wi-Fi network. Features include voice commands such as asking "Alexa, where is the nearest Starbucks?" or requesting directions via voice command.
If you want to use Alexa with your own speakers, because your sound setup is way better than anything a little Echo Dot can pull of, wire your system up to this flat cylinder and poof!
If you do have your heart on an Amazon microwave (because let's be honest, there is something oddly tempting about telling your kitchen appliances to cook for you), there'll be a bit of a wait.
Amazon has been moving fast in the race against digital assistants fielded by powerhouse rivals Google and Apple to become the preferred way people interact by voice with artificial intelligence. Whatever you plug into the Smart Plug thereby has power controlled by the Smart Plug, which is controlled by Alexa.
While the device was once rumored to rely a homegrown voice assistant to handle basic commands, Portal may instead lean on Amazon's Alexa for things like music, recipes, and news briefings. The study also found that many users felt embarrassed about talking to their devices in public, preferring to use them when alone.