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Amazon Revamps UK Echo Product Lineup

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

New design, improved sound, and a smart home option included, coupled with lower UK prices

Amazon has revamped its Echo portfolio for the UK market with improved features and functionality, as well as lower prices.

These include improved sound with Dolby processing, and a lower entry level retail price of £89.99 for the Amazon Echo.

Smart speakers are increasingly popular and comes at a time with growing competition from the likes of the Apple Homepod and Google Home.

Echo Show white

Echo Improvements

In an effort to exploit this popularity, Amazon has updated its Echo range that was introduced only a year ago.

The most notable update is to the Amazon Echo speaker, which now comes with an all-new design that includes a range of colours in order to blend with a room’s design.

The new Echo also offers improved sound with Dolby processing that promises to fill your room with sound. This ‘immersive sound’ is achieved thanks to an all-new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5” downward-firing woofer. The Dolby processing in case you are wondering allows for the delivery of ‘crisp vocals and dynamic bass.

The Alexa AI allows music to be played from leading services such as Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn etc.

Another new development for the Amazon Echo is ‘second generation far-field technology’ which offers the user better wake word processing in noisy environments, improved beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation.

The next major development from Amazon concerns the Echo Plus, which retails for £139.99. This device contains a built-in smart home hub to connect to smart devices without the need for additional hubs or apps. It will ship with a Philips Hue smart lightbulb (whilst supplies last).

Other tweaks have been applied to the Echo Show, which means that Alexa can now also offer flash briefings, music lyrics, smart home feeds and weather forecasts. This device costs £199.99, and can also make hands-free calls to friends and family.

“We introduced the first Echo, powered by Alexa, with a goal to fundamentally simplify and improve the way customers interact with their homes,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa.

“Today, Alexa can call people, play music in every room, turn on your lights, and even order you a pizza,” he added. “But it’s still day one, and today we’re making Echo and Alexa even better. The all-new Echo and Echo Plus deliver better sound, all new far-field technology, and new features we think customers will love.”

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Other Changes

Amazon meanwhile has also enhanced its Fire TV stick to include 4K Ultra HD and HDR streaming. This new diamond shaped stick costs £69.99.

Amazon also said it would be rolling out Alexa calling and messaging across the Alexa family in the UK.

This allows current Alexa users to make calls and send messages to friends and family.

The new products and tweaked improvements to the Echo range demonstrates Amazon commitment to its AI push with Alexa, which will also soon be appearing in BMW Mini cars.

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