The event was held in the Amazon Spheres, which are three large glass domes located on Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. Business Insider was in attendance, and checked out the hands-on area afterwards. Here's everything Amazon announced at its ...
Amazon Echo September 2018 event: All announcements, highlights - Business Insider
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider
SEATTLE — Amazon held a special event on Thursday to unveil a slew of new gadgets and services.
At the start of the event, Amazon exec Dave Limp said "We've got 70 things to talk about," and if he was joking, it was hard to tell. According to Limp, Thursday's event featured the largest number of devices and features that Amazon has ever announced in a single day.
The event was held in the Amazon Spheres, which are three large glass domes located on Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. Business Insider was in attendance, and checked out the hands-on area afterwards.
Here's everything Amazon announced at its massive September event:
NEW ECHO DOT
The Echo Dot— Amazon's best-selling speaker ever, which is a miniature version of the original Echo — got a bunch of improvements, including a new design, and better speakers that are 70% louder than the previous version.
The new Echo Dot costs $50, like the last model, and starts shipping in October.
NEW ECHO PLUS
Amazon unveiled a new Echo Plus speaker that features stronger bass and an equalizer feature that lets you adjust the bass and treble using just your voice.
The new Echo Plus also has an integrated temperature sensor so you can create special commands that trigger actions, so you could have it turn on your fans if a room gets too hot, for example. It will also support local voice control, so you won't need an internet connection to do some basic commands like turning on lights.
The new Echo Plus is available for pre-order, and starts shipping in October. It costs $149.99.
NEW ECHO SHOW
Amazon redesigned the Echo Show to have a bigger 10-inch HD screen — twice the display area of the original Echo Show — and better sound quality. It also has two new web browsers, including Firefox and Amazon's Silk browser.
You can pre-order the new Echo Show now, which starts shipping in October. It costs $229.99.
Amazon made a tiny standalone microphone called Echo Input, which connects to a third-party speaker through an audio cable or Bluetooth so you can talk to Alexa and control the speaker from across the room (assuming it's a big room), or from a different room. It's less than an inch tall and is barely noticeable.
Amazon says the Echo Input will be available "later this year" for $34.99.
Amazon introduced a new subwoofer for the Amazon Echo, appropriately named Echo Sub. This is good if you like listening to music through your Echo but want some more bass.
It works with Amazon Echo and Echo Plus, and you can attach the Echo Sub to two of the same model of Echo speakers to create a 2.1 stereo sound system.
You can pre-order the Echo Sub starting today. It costs $129.99.
WI-FI SIMPLE SETUP
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Amazon wants to make it easier to set up your electronic devices, so it created two new services: There's a new thing called Amazon Wi-Fi Locker, which lets you re-use your network credentials to set up new devices, but the big standout feature is a new system called "Wi-Fi Simple Setup," which lets people seamlessly connect their new Wi-Fi devices to their networks.
AMAZON SMART PLUG
Amazon unveiled a new gadget called the Smart Plug, which comes with Amazon's new Wi-Fi Simple Setup feature.
Here's how it works: If you connect a new smart kitchen appliance, like a smart coffee maker, into the Amazon Smart Plug, it will automatically connect to your Wi-Fi; no need to fuss with an extra app. It takes "less than 30 seconds," according to Amazon.
A new AmazonBasics Microwave— yes, a microwave— comes with a built-in "Ask Alexa" button. Just press the button and issue a verbal command, like "one minute," to get the timer going. The microwave also comes with a Dash Replenishment service, which means you can automatically order certain kinds of food, like popcorn, if you're running low.
The AmazonBasics Microwave is available to pre-order, and will start shipping "later this year." It costs $59.99.
A new feature called Alexa Guard integrates security service providers with your Echo devices and smart lights to protect your home.
For instance, Alexa Guard can send you alerts with audio clips when specific sounds are detected, and you can choose to forward those alerts to your security provider like ADT or Ring.
Alexa Guard also uses machine learning to turn your smart lights on and off in a pattern that seems normal to make it seem like someone is home.
Amazon introduced a new $50 device called Echo Auto, with enough microphones in it to handle noise in your car so Alexa can properly hear your commands, whether it's noisy inside or outside your vehicle. Echo Auto only needs to connect to your phone via Bluetooth to work.
Alexa is also coming to cars in a new invite-only (for now) feature called Alexa Auto, which lets you search for a nearby Starbucks, or directions to a location, using just your voice. Amazon will start shipping Alexa Auto "later this year."
NEW SOFTWARE FOR DEVELOPERS
Avery Hartmans/Business Insider
Amazon announced the fourth version of its smart-home APIs, which let developers build Alexa into their devices. It includes the Alexa Connect Kit, which Amazon calls "the simplest way to create Wi-Fi connected, smart home products." The Alexa Connect Kit has a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low-energy module with Amazon software that can automatically connect to Amazon's cloud services.
Alexa Presentation Language is a new feature for developers, which lets them build visual Alexa skills with graphics, videos, slideshows, and more.
Amazon's new Alexa Smart Screen Device SDK lets developers build experiences for smart displays, TVs, and 2-in-1 tablets.
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