Google Home Hub: What is Google’s answer to the MIA Echo Show?

The new Google Home Mini at a product launch event

The Amazon Echo Clock will cost $29.99 and will ship later this year.

Naturally our interest is particularly piqued by the new audio products which we suppose marks Amazon's grand entrance into "hi-fi". It's also been gifted a new mic array for better voice detection.

"The number of smart speaker models available worldwide has grown significantly over the last 12 months as vendors look to capitalize on the explosive market growth", Strategy Analytics Vice President David Mercer said in a statement. Yes, everyone's go-to appliance for reheating, defrosting, and other adventures is getting a 2018 update complete with Alexa voice support.

A connected microwave and wall clock, which can also be controlled using Alexa, were also announced.

The big picture: Amazon has officially entered the premium home speaker market, one that is largely dominated by Sonos but also has seen Google and Apple step up to the plate as of late. The Echo Dot and Echo Plus have better looks and better sound, two things that are important for a smart speaker that'll always be sitting out, while the Echo Show has a larger screen that'll be useful for watching videos and recipes. Unlike the regular model, however, this new Echo Plus offers a much more powerful base and should offer a clearer sound output, although this will remain to be seen. Although given Amazon no longer seems to be pushing the Echo Show (it has been listed as unavailable on the website for some time), is Google chasing a market share that simply doesn't exist?




That's right, Amazon is turning your house into its own echo chamber. It's got improved sound, too, along with Bluetooth and 3.5mm connectivity so that you can connect another speaker to it.

At £75 (US$96), it seems like a fairly low-priced way to make your Echo sound better, if you're already invested in the Alexa ecosystem.

The Echo Link is created to connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment. Amazon announced offline home control as well as a Whisper Mode for Alexa devices. That means you'll be able to use it to control smart devices that aren't Wi-Fi enabled, such as Philips Hue light bulbs.

And ... wow. Lot's to discuss here, and that's just the hardware. You can, for instance, set it up so that Alexa automatically turns on the fan if your living room reaches a certain temperature.

Amazon's new Fire TV Recast add traditional OTA channels along with recording capabilities.

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