Tech

Amazon Echo Auto brings Alexa to your old vehicle

Amazon Echo Auto brings Alexa to your old vehicle

Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president of devices.Stephen Brashear/Getty ImagesAmazon made a huge splash Thursday at its event in Seattle, where it showcased tons of new hardware and services created to make your life easier.

Vice President of Amazon Devices, Dave Limp, said the company chose to add Alexa to the ubiquitous kitchen item to bring it into the 21st century.

From new Echo speakers to a smart wall clock - and even a smart microwave - Amazon announced products for all in a bid to showcase how far it has come from the first Amazon Echo speaker announced in 2014.

While Amazon made dozens of announcements, these were the five biggest highlights from the show. This device can access Hulu, Amazon Music, and Spotify. The smart speaker comes in at $49.99 and is presently on pre-order on Amazon. However, this marked improvement should see it overcome Google's offering and reclaim the ground that it has lost to the Google Home Mini in the last couple of months.

Furthering the notion of a hifi system built from separates (and not active speakers), the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp both offer a subwoofer output and a line-level input.

The Echo Dot has also been given a makeover in terms of looks, and the refresh will sport a new fabric design and will be available in three colours - charcoal, heather gray and sandstone. Amazon remarks that Alexa has "over 50,000 skills and counting", so we'd imagine that the assistant can perform most of those through the Echo Auto.

However, there is no information about its availability in India.

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The Echo Auto, Amazon claims, can act as a bridge between your car's speaker system and Alexa installed on your phone, thus helping users control the former through Alexa-based voice commands.

Echo Auto has a built-in 8-microphone stack designed for in-car acoustics, Echo Auto can hear you over music, A/C, and road noise.

The new Echo Auto is an interesting proposition. With new premium speakers and Dolby processing, you will not only get a better image but better sound.

Any Alexa-enabled device will support voice calls, and hardware with screens and cameras, such as the Echo Show, will also support video calling.

The Seattle internet giant is pushing Alexa more deeply into customers' lives, hoping to popularize technology that has yet to go mainstream and connecting people more to Amazon's universe of things to buy.

Another cool thing announced at the event was the Amazon Smart Plug. This one's got a bit of fabric around its edges and it's not quite so flat in design as its predecessor. This will save you $25 on the listed $49.99 price that was announced for the vehicle assistant. Amazon Smart Plug is available for pre-order now for $34.99 and will start shipping on October 11. The new Ring-branded Stick Up Cam security camera is going to retail for US$180 and will be compatible with Alexa voice controls down the track. Amazon says you can ask Alexa to defrost and cook food, heat coffee, or just turn the microwave on for a set time.

Still, the mathematicians amongst you will have figured out that this leaves 36 per cent of the market unclaimed, and taking 6 per cent of that is the Apple HomePod.