Amazon today at a surprise hardware event unveiled a long overdue second-generation upgrade for its original Echo smart speaker. The new Echo comes with a slew of new audio features like a dedicated bass tweeter and features a much smaller body that largely resembles Apple’s recently announced HomePod.
The new Amazon Echo also flaunts a cloth-like exterior now that will probably suite the rest of your home’s decor in a more fitting manner. Furthermore, support for multi-room audio has been added. This essentially means you can stream from a single source to multiple Echo devices situated in various rooms in any space. In addition to that, the Echo can now make free calls to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, something which Google has offered with Gmail and Hangouts for years. Bundling free calls will also push forward the company’s profound phone-replacement pitch.
Amazon says the new Echo also comes with a relatively more premium sound including a dedicated 4-inch upward woofer and tweeter. More importantly, it features the second generation of the company’s far-field technology and microphone array allowing the Echo to communicate nicely along with other devices. Apart from the cloth covering, you can also grab the Echo in six different shells such as wooden, classic and more. It is powered by a new A8 processor which is capable of advanced acoustic modeling and spatial awareness.
Like before, the Echo lets you talk to Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, play music, control your rest of the smart home, check on the traffic before leaving and more. The new Amazon Echo will be available starting today in the United States for $99. Moreover, Amazon is also selling a three-pack for the price of $50 per device.