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Amazon's new Echo devices bring generative AI and new smart home features

Amazon has new smart devices for the home

Amazon's Alexa assistant gets upgraded smarts in new Echo devices that include smart glasses called Echo Frames, an upgraded Echo Show 8 with a display, and new Fire TV devices for audio and visuals.

During a hardware event on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled its newest range of smart home devices, including the Echo Show 8, wearable Echo Frames to bring the Alexa smart assistant to a person's face, and Fire TV products. Each Alexa device also has new generative AI capabilities as Amazon strives to remain competitive in the artificial intelligence sector.

A smarter Alexa assistant

Amazon previewed an upgraded Alexa powered by generative AI. It's built upon a new large language model that is tailor-made and finely tuned for vocal interactions and opens up new avenues for interaction, which include:

  • Eye Gaze Mode: A tool for people with speech or mobility disabilities, allowing them to control Alexa's actions through eye movements.
  • Call Translation: Breaking language barriers with real-time translation during Alexa audio and video calls.
  • Alexa Emergency Assist: A safety service offering fast access to emergency help, available through subscription.
  • Game Start Routines: Custom routines initiated automatically at the start of your favorite team's game.
  • Email to Alexa: Manage a family calendar efficiently by sending event details directly to Alexa via email.

Echo Frames

The all-new Echo Frames and Carrera Smart Glasses collection merge fashion with Alexa technology, offering a stylish way to carry Alexa on the go. The glasses have premium features, including music playback, Alexa assistance with finding lost glasses, and multiple lens options.

Prices for the Echo Frames start at $269.99, and people can sign up to be notified when they launch.

Echo Show 8

The upgraded Echo Show 8 promises an enhanced video call experience with a centered camera and noise-minimization technology. The device also introduces adaptive content, changing the home screen display based on a person's proximity to the device.

It incorporates specially designed audio processing technology, delivering a broader, more enveloping sound landscape. Coupled with room adaptation technology, it can detect the room's acoustic properties and adjust playback for the best sound quality.

Furthermore, the integrated smart home hub facilitates centralized control of all devices. It's available to preorder soon for $149.99 and starts shipping in October 2023.

eero Max 7

The eero Max 7 marks Amazon's entrance into the Wi-Fi 7 mesh system, standing as the quickest and most potent eero to date. Leveraging Amazon's exclusive TrueMesh networking technology alongside the newest Wi-Fi 7 standard, it promises to substantially boost speeds and reduce mesh latency while avoiding disruptions from nearby networks.

Thanks to the 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Amazon says that users can — theoretically — download a 4K film in just 10 seconds or a 50GB video game in under a minute — but this will be internet-connection limited in nearly every case. The system will soon be available in one, two, or three packages, starting at $599.99.

Fire TV

The second generation of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers Wi-Fi 6E for lower latency and faster speeds for home networks. The latest 4K Max delivers excellent visuals with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+, paired with the surround sound of Dolby Atmos audio.

The 4K Max is equipped with the Fire TV Ambient Experience, converting the TV into a smart display that displays useful details such as a family calendar, the local weather forecast, and reminders. It's available to preorder for $59.99.

Fire TV Soundbar

The sleek 24-inch soundbar delivers immersive sound, clear speech, and enhanced bass, backed by DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Audio support. Users can plug it in, link it to a TV, and enjoy a theater-like experience.

The Fire TV Soundbar is available to purchase for $119.99.