Amazon has just finished up its latest hardware event where it showcased a number of new Echo devices and Alexa enhancements.
Taking place at the brand’s huge new office in Arlington, Virginia the event offered a look at the future of Alexa, while also showcasing hardware releases for the rest of the year.
Here are five of the biggest reveals from the event, ranging from the latest Echo smart displays to Amazon’s Fire TV series
Echo Show 8
The latest Echo Show 8 device looks a little more modern than previous iterations, with a centred front camera and an edge-to-edge glass front screen. Amazon said during the launch event it has upgraded the audio, added in some spatial audio smarts and the ability to change its sound profile depending on where it’s placed in a room.
There’s a bevy of software tweaks too. For instance, depending on where you’re standing the Echo Show 8’s home screen will change – showing more detail if you’re close, and switching to a more visual view when you’re further away.
The Echo Show 8 (2023) will be available to pre-order from September 20 and ship in October. Prices start from $149.99.
An incredible discount code on an iPhone 15 pre-order
Courtesy of Box, apply the code PERK20 at checkout and get an extra £20 off the preorder of the iPhone 15 so you can enjoy it all on day one.
- Was £799
- Now £779
A more conversational Alexa
Alexa needed a bit of a rethink and it certainly looks like that is coming. Demoed at the hardware event, a new feature called ‘Alexa, Let’s chat‘ lets you have more realistic conversations with the voice assistant using generative AI to build specific food recipes and detailed requests.
For instance, the demo showed someone asking for a suggestion of a peanut-free recipe, with Alexa responding as to whether that was due to an allergy or simply a dislike.
Alexa is more conversational too, so there’s no need to keep on saying ‘Alexa’, instead you can just keep the conversation going and Alexa will remember what you’ve been saying.
A refresh of the Fire HD 10 tablet range
The 2023 version of the Fire HD 10 packs a number of updates over its predecessor, including faster performance and an upgraded 5MP front camera. Amazon also said it is lighter and thinner than the previous model. There’s a duo of versions designed for kids too.
The Fire HD 10 is available to pre-order now for £149.99/$149.99, while the kids models are both priced at £199.99/$199.99.
Fire TV upgrades across the board
Amazon announced numerous Fire TV upgrades during the event, including a duo of streaming sticks, a smattering of software tweaks and a soundbar.
The flagship of the bunch is the $59.99 Fire Stick 4K Max, which comes with a slightly more rounded design and Wi-Fi 6E for a more robust connection for those who have a compatible router.
This high-end Fire Stick also boasts the ambient experience we’ve seen on certain Fire TV sets before, showcasing art and weather information when the television is turned off.
There’s an update to the cheaper Fire Stick 4K too ($49.99), which is now 30% more powerful and supports Wi-Fi 6. Finally, Amazon announced the $119.99 Fire TV Soundbar.
Echo Hub is a new smart home controller which Amazon said will heavily undercut the competition in terms of price.
Meant to be the brain of your smart home, this controller supports Matter and Thread, can display multiple connected security cameras in one view, and supports the new Map View feature.