Just in time for the holiday season, Amazon introduced the new models of its intelligent speaker Echo in a surprise event. During the presentation, the company of Jeff Bezos reminded us that the technology of its smart voice assistant Alexa remains one of the most accepted in the industry, far above the products of Apple and Google.
The new and small member of the Echo family does much more than just showing the time.
With the Echo Spot, Amazon introduced a kind of multifunctional smart alarm clock with support for the in-house voice assistant Alexa. The device has a small, circular display and can, therefore, be used not only for simple search queries but also as a controller for smart home applications or to make video calls. This little gadget of peculiar circular design is like a younger brother to the Echo Show. Echo Spot shares many of the features that Echo Show already offers, including loudspeakers, and thanks to the screen and integrated camera, the possibility to make free video calls.
With the approximate size of a tennis ball, Echo Spot is able to display on its circular display the time, timers, weather, security camera videos or messages. According to the company, the Echo Spot has a better quality of sound reproduction.
The device reminds remotely of the Chumby, but Amazon wants users to see the Echo Spot as a type of smart, voice-controlled alarm clock. For this purpose, a round display with a 2.5-inch diameter and touch support are integrated into the device.
The time, weather, and location are displayed on this screen, but the smart alarm clock can do even more. Among other things, you can use the Amazon Echo Spot to play music from Amazon, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Users can also retrieve messages or interact with the numerous Alexa capabilities. Of course, the voice assistant Alexa is also integrated, so that the Echo Spot can react to your commands.
Basically, the Amazon Echo Spot combines the features of the larger Echo Show and the Amazon Echo Dot in a single device. The Echo Spot is equipped with its own built-in speaker, but if you like, you can also connect it to external speakers through a 3.5mm stereo cable or Bluetooth.
Amazon expects people to buy several of these devices to put them in different parts of their homes, and in this way, they can manage Alexa’s functions from any of their rooms. In addition, the gadget can serve as a smart home control, since it has support for other devices such as Samsung TVs or Philips Hue lights. The manufacturer also suggested that users could put the Echo Spot in their kitchens, where they could add items to their shopping list and set kitchen timers. Or you could simply place the Echo Spot on your desk and make calls.
The Amazon Echo Spot is already available for preorder at a price of $129, with an expected ship date to U.S. customers sometime in December.
As for the European market, the Echo Spot is expected to arrive in the United Kingdom and Germany early in 2018.
Here is a great video made by the team at The Verge, so you can get a closer look of the new gadget.