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Amazon reveals new Echo devices including Echo Spot, Echo Plus & upgraded $99 standard Echo

By Roger Fingas

In a special event, Amazon on Wednesday unveiled several new Echo products, led by an improved $99 standard Echo, the Echo Plus, and the display-equipped Echo Spot.

The second-generation flagship Echo.

The updated standard Echo, shipping Oct. 31 for $99.99, includes dedicated woofer and tweeter units, Dolby-certified sound, and better far-field microphone technology. It comes in six different colors, with wood, fabric, or metal shells -- wood or metal units cost $119.99.

The Echo Plus.

The Echo Plus, also due Oct. 31, shares similar features but also operates as a ZigBee hub, allowing it to quickly discover and configure compatible devices. While the device will eventually cost $164.98, Amazon is temporarily selling it for $149.99, with a Philips Hue bulb included as a bonus. Black, white, and silver colors are available.

The Echo Spot.

The $129.99 Echo Spot is similar to the existing Echo Show but much smaller, using a round 2.5-inch display. Like the Echo Dot, it includes just a basic internal speaker, requiring external Bluetooth or 3.5mm speakers for higher-quality sound. Show-level features include clock faces, video calls and clips, and visual feedback such as lyrics or the ability to stream from compatible security cameras. The product will ship Dec. 19 in black and white versions.

Smaller announcements include $20 Echo Buttons, used for things like trivia games with an Echo, and the $34.99 Echo Connect coming Dec. 13, which bridges a landline phone with an Echo to allow voice-controlled speakerphone calls, without recipients having to own an Alexa-enabled device.

Amazon has also announced a new Fire TV, supporting 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos, but shrunk to the size of a dongle. At $69.99, the device could undercut the Apple TV 4K, which costs over twice as much.

The higher-end Echos could pose a challenge to Apple's Siri-equipped HomePod, which while offering superior sound technology will also sell for $349 when it arrives in December.

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