Three years ago, Amazon introduced Echo and Alexa, offering a new way to interact with technology using just your voice. Amazon took things beyond connected speakers with its announcement as well, unveiling Echo Connect, Echo Buttons, and Amazon Fire TV 4K.
What does the Echo Connect do?"See the weather, watch video news briefings, glance at your alarm clock, check on your kids, and more-we think customers will find lots of places for Echo Spot in their homes".
Users just say, "Alexa, discover my devices", and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps.
In fact the Echo Connect does nothing on its own, so you need another Echo of some description as well to actually make use of it.
Of course, anyone in the industry will tell you that it's still very much early days for the smart home assistant.
Amazon Alexa calling recently launched in the U.S. and now Amazon has also launched the feature in the UK, Germany and Austria. It can be enabled for free and supports voice commands such as "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play all songs" "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play love songs" and "Alexa ask Starfish Groove to play old songs". The Calling over Echo speakers is similar to the VoIP calls, over the network or internet.
Why would I want an Echo Connect?
North American Amazon Echo users can now use their speakers to make calls to mobile and landline telephones.
The next generation speaker, which is powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, will have a dedicated woofer and a tweeter for the first time, as well as Dolby sound.
Alexa Gadgets are Echo-branded accessories. It was created to provide dual functions; it allows any mobile device to project a screen up to 100 inches in size or can be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker that can play 40 hours of continuous music through its five speakers. It can also control smart home devices as well. However, the newly launched Echo Plus device will have a high price tag compared to the Amazon Echo.
However, users should keep in mind that all outgoing calls can only be made through any Echo device.
Echo Plus is available for pre-order starting on 27 Sep. and will start shipping next month in the US, UK and Germany.
However, Amazon's Alexa software has a wider range of skills on offer that enable it to link up with and control more third-party devices around the home.
At that kind of price it's a pretty good deal - provided of course you like the idea of upgrading your telephone system to use Echos rather than normal handsets.