If you have a moment, head over to Amazon and check out their many devices. I’m not asking you to buy one. I just think that most folks don’t realize just how many devices they now “make.” From their ubiquitous Kindle e-reader to their Echo, in all of their many iterations, they now produce a huge number of cool gadgets.
And the price range is customer friendly, in my humble opinion. For just $49.99 plus tax you can own one of their Fire tablets whose specifications and many fun things to do with it are considerably more than most would expect at that price point. I liked that value on their last version enough to pick up three of them, so everyone in the family could have one. The “user reviews” in our house are excellent.
Having long had faith in Amazon’s quality standards, I purchased one of their Echo Dots as a Christmas gift for my wife. Unlike me she actually loves to figure out all of the things a device can do. And so she not only asks “Alexa” what the whether the will be every day, but even freaked me out by using her iPhone to tell Alexa to give me a message that she wanted me to call her. I did not know this little device was capable of that.
Better yet, we’ve seen almost all Amazon devices go on sale at some point. Particularly when the holidays are near, we start looking for the prices on many of them to drop.
Our favorite feature of many of their devices is the “Smart Home” functionality you get. Give us more Alexa, more lights coming on when we say so, and more music all over the house!
Which brings us to Amazon’s official Press Release that just came to our attention. Here’s a quick summary of some of the cool improvements you can look forward to:
- The new Amazon Echo will give you a new, sleeker design plus sound improved by Dolby enhanced audio.
- The new Echo Plus is all about making your home “Smart.” You can use it to control your “smart” locks around the home, turn on the lights, and do all sorts of fun and useful stuff. A smart bulb in the popular Philips Hue line is included.
- You can now set up “Routines” which allow you to complete multiple actions together. Give Alexa a command and it will complete multiple actions like starting your morning beverage brew, turn on lights, and give you the weather for the day.
- A new Alexa call feature allows you to dial out to your friends, while their new “Connect” offers inbound and outbound “hands free” calling.”
Most will start shipping between 10/11/17 and 10/31/17. A little information about the new devices and what they’ll cost.
Amazon Echo Spot – With Alexa, this new “Mini” allows for fun uses like finding and listening to your favorite Audiobook or find all kinds of great music. Of course, you can combine it with smart devices in your home turn on sprinklers, open garage doors, adjust the temperature. Think of it as a nicely upgraded Echo Dot. Currently $129.99.
2nd Generation Amazon Echo – If the previous version didn’t feel like it “fit” in your decor, you’ll love that this one comes in a fabric finish. Seriously, you can now match it with your couch. Use it for multi-room audio (you’ll need more than one Echo, of course), make phone calls, and get better voice response than ever thanks to seven built in microphones. A surprisingly low $99.99 gets you a new Echo.
Amazon Echo Plus – A built in hub changes the game. Cloud based Alexa now uses the hub set up and control your other smart devices from a single device. Everything from smart locks to lights can be added to your home control set up simply and quickly. Of course, it also does everything the 2nd Generation Echo does. $149.99 will get you one.
Amazon Fire TV with 4K Streaming – Yes, it streams 4K and HDR video. Dolby Atmos Audio makes your sound even better than you got with the previous generation. Currently $69.99.
Amazon Echo Connect – It’s an add on that allows your Echo device to make phone calls via your voice. You can receive them as well. Plug it into your jack, set it up and your on your way to receiving and making phone calls to your buds. Just $34.99.
All New Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet – Comes in a 32 GB version ($149.99 with Special Offers – $164.99 Without) or 64 GB version ($189.99 or $204.99). The 10.1″ Full HD Display, fast 1.8 quad-core processor makes it 30% faster than previous version according to Amazon for smoother video and movie streaming. As much as 10 hours of battery life lets you use it longer. It also allows for control of smart devices in your home via Alexa.
The All New Kindle Kids Edition Tablet (Available Now) – For $129.99, you get an inch of extra screen room (it’s now 8″), 32GB of storage built in (expandable to 256 via microSD), A “Kid Proof” case, tons of educational/entertainment options, and as much as 12 hours of battery life. A “Parent Dashboard” allows you to monitor what you’re young person is doing with their Fire. 2 Years of extra protection gives you peace of mind.
Echo Show (Available now) – All sorts of fun Alexa features, including the ability to pull up song lyrics, photographs, weather, your shopping lists, Audible books and more. The hands-free mode allows you to make phone calls to anyone who owns an Echo device. Dolby Sound and a bright 7″ touchscreen make it great for watching your favorite video. You get all this for $229.99.