Amazon Alexa gets AI update in next-gen Echo devices

Echo smart speakers will now have more intuitive Alexa experiences which can understand conversational phrases and respond appropriately with the help of AI

The company showcased next-generation Echo Show 8, all-new Echo Hub and new Echo Frames at its fall hardware event (photo: IANS)
The company showcased next-generation Echo Show 8, all-new Echo Hub and new Echo Frames at its fall hardware event (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Amazon has introduced a new line-up of Echo smart speakers with more intuitive Alexa experiences which can understand conversational phrases and respond appropriately with the help of AI.

The company showcased next-generation Echo Show 8, all-new Echo Hub and new Echo Frames at its fall hardware event late on Wednesday, 20 September.

Amazon also collaborated with Safilo, one of the world’s leading eyewear manufacturers, to blend the power of Alexa with iconic Carrera designs.

"These new Echo devices give customers more ways to experience the world’s best personal AI — and the growing generative AI capabilities that will be coming to Alexa soon — at home and on the go,” said Daniel Rausch, vice president of Alexa and Fire TV.

The new Echo Show 8 has been upgraded inside and out. It also runs a new model enabling Alexa to process common smart home requests locally for 40 per cent faster responses to common requests, such as turning on a smart light, switch, or plug

Video calls are better with a centred 13-megapixel camera, plus an enhanced audio pipeline which minimises background noise from around the home. 

Echo Show 8 also features Adaptive Content — a new home screen experience that uses on-device computer vision technology to adjust on-screen content based on a customer’s proximity to the device, said the company. 

Echo Show 8 is available in Glacier White and Charcoal for $149.99 and will begin shipping on 25 October.

Also coming this fall is Echo Show 8 Photos Edition, which unlocks a photo-forward mode on Echo Show 8’s high-resolution screen. 

The Photos Edition experience makes customer-selected personal photos the primary rotating content on the ambient screen.

Photos rotate every 30-seconds and customers receive 25 GB of storage from Amazon Photos. The Echo Show 8 Photos Edition is available for $159.99 and includes a six-month PhotosPlus subscription which will renew after six months for $1.99 per month, and can be cancelled at any time.


Echo Hub is Amazon’s first smart home control panel that makes connecting and managing smart devices intuitive, that costs $179.99 and will be available later this year.

It features a thin, eight-inch, touch-enabled display with a customizable smart home dashboard. 

With Adaptive Content, Echo Hub uses infrared technology to detect when someone is nearby, and naturally transitions from a home screen with a beautiful clock, to the smart home control screen, the company said.

The Echo Frames and Carrera Smart Glasses introduce seven new frame styles, reimagined audio design, long-lasting battery, and hands-free access to Alexa, and start at $269.99.

Amazon also introduced enhanced conversational voice search with generative AI, upgrades to the Fire TV Ambient Experience, and the most powerful Fire TV Sticks yet -- the all-new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, now with the Fire TV Ambient Experience, and Fire TV Stick 4K.

All-new Fire TV Stick 4K delivers Fire TV Stick’s best performance for under $50, with nearly 30 per cent more power than the previous generation, plus support for Wi-Fi 6.

In addition, Amazon announced the all-new Fire TV Soundbar, enabling customers to enjoy their favourite TV shows, movies, and games with room-filling sound.

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