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Amazon held an event today in Seattle and announced a pair of new Echo home speakers: the revamped $99 Echo and the $150 Echo Plus. The new Echo is the latest version of the company’s Alexa-powered home speaker, while the Echo Plus houses Amazon’s virtual assistant in addition to being a smart home hub for IoT devices.
The new Echo speaker remains a cylindrical device, but this model appears slightly shorter and thicker than its $180 predecessor. It’ll also come in a bunch of new finishes, including wood-like “oak” and “walnut” designs, as well as dark gray and charcoal fabric designs. The new device has an improved speaker system with a dedicated subwoofer and tweeter, along with integrated Dolby sound. It also has “second-generation voice-recognition technology” along with seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation so Alexa can hear your commands from anywhere even when music is playing.
Undoubtedly, Amazon wanted to upgrade the original Echo’s internals so it can compete with Apple’s high-end HomePod, which is slated to come out at the end of this year. HomePod is priced at $349, so Echo already has an advantage with its $99 price tag. Amazon also has an offer for $50 off if you buy three new Echos.
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