After initially launching the Echo Dot earlier this year, Amazon is now back with a second-generation release that answers the questions focused on why the original Echo Dot had been out of stock in the last few months.
Rather than discontinuing the device entirely, Amazon has taken the opportunity to unveil revamped hardware that carries a familiar look and feel to it, featuring an entirely revamped voice processing unit that not only improves voice recognition, but also introduces an understanding spatial awareness for those homes that may have more than one Echo Dot.
In its purest form, the Echo Dot exists as a device that can be controlled via voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa to perform activities like playing music through connected speakers via services like Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn, and Prime Music. Those existing speakers can be connected directly to the Echo Dot second-generation wirelessly via Bluetooth, or tethered via a 3.5mm connection. Of course, as you might expect, the Echo Dot extends far beyond just being able to start playing music in and around the home.
The device is capable of controlling many connected home devices with voice control, similar to accessories that are Apple HomeKit compatible. Via Alexa voice commands, the Echo Dot can instantly turn Philips Hue lights on and off , or even set the color of bulbs and dim the lights to a certain percentage. Compatibility with Wemo, Netatmo, hive, taco and many more also means that things like heating and air conditioning can be controlled using the Echo Dot as a centralized hub.
The device itself is also pretty to look at, consisting of a ring of seven microphones that work together with beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation to ensure that a command is received from any position or angle, or in noisy environments that would otherwise make it difficult.
In addition to announcing the new Echo Dot, Amazon has also announced that the focal product in its hardware range, the regular Amazon Echo, will extend beyond just being offered in the United States. Consumers in the United Kingdom and Germany will be able to purchase the Echo and Echo Dot, and will even be able to own it in white. U.K. residents can expect to pay £150 for the Echo (£99 for Prime members), with German consumers having to part with €180 (€130 for Prime members). Echo will start shipping on September 28th in the UK and October 26th in the Germany. As for Echo Dot, it will cost £49.99 (UK) and €59.99 (Germany) and will ship starting October 20th in the UK and October 26th in the Germany.
Amazon is also making Echo Dot available in packs, letting you buy five Echo Dots which gets you one free, or ten Echo Dots that will get you two units free. Perfect for those who are willing to fill their entire home with these Alexa-powered devices.
Amazon Echo (in white) and new Echo Dot are both available to pre-order right now in US, UK and Germany.