Amazon today announced its second-generation Amazon Echo smart home speaker that now comes in half of its original size and packs a lot more heat. This comes after the original Amazon Echo went out of stock a number of weeks ago in anticipation to today.
For one, the new Amazon Echo is about 50 percent smaller and looks pretty clean. It comes covered in fabric and is available in three colors. Inside, the Echo packs a dedicated bass tweeter to better compete with other speakers on the market which produce improved sound, namely Google’s Home and Apple’s upcoming HomePod. Amazon also says the new Echo can be paired with other Echoes for multi-room audio, therefore eliminating the need for something like a Sonos sound system. The new Echo will be sold in three packs to better promote this feature.
You can also use the new Amazon Echo to place free calls in the US, Canada, and Mexico like in Google Hangouts. To coincide, Amazon also debuted a $35 Echo Connect device which plugs into your wall and allows for phone calls to take place through your Echo speaker. The device connects to your phone number and allows to call any number in the three regions listed above. It also ships with 911 calling support. Additionally, Alexa voice calling and text messaging to other Echoes will also soon expand to the UK and Germany. It’s expanding to Europe starting today.
The new Echo is just $99. This is $80 lower than what Amazon sold the original Echo for. A three-pack of Echoes will cost $250. Other finishes will be available for $119. The new generation will be available starting today from Amazon.com for preorder. It launches October 31st. It’ll also likely land in Whole Foods locations soon.