Amazon's Alexa gets a slew of new features, new Echo devices also launched

The Asian Age.

Technology, Gadgets

Amazon introduced an all-new line-up of Echo devices and a range of new Alexa features, today.

he new devices include three new Echo smart speakers. These join Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Show 5, and Echo companion devices – Echo Sub, Echo Link, Echo Link Amp – to create the Echo family of devices.

Amazon introduced an all-new line-up of Echo devices and a range of new Alexa features, today. The new devices include three new Echo smart speakers. These join Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Show 5, and Echo companion devices – Echo Sub, Echo Link, Echo Link Amp – to create the Echo family of devices. 

All-new Echo

The next-generation Echo has the same audio architecture as Echo Plus, including a 3-inch woofer and increased back volume so that the bass feels stronger, and the mids and highs are clearer. It also features an updated fabric design with color options suitable for any style—including Blue (new), Black, Grey and White.  It shall retail for Rs 9,999.

Echo Dot with clock

Echo Dot, now has a new variant that comes with a bright LED display. The LED display automatically adjusts based on the brightness of the room, to ease viewing the time, the outdoor temperature, set a morning alarm or cooking timer. Plus, you can tap the top of the device to conveniently snooze an alarm. It shall retail at a price of Rs 5,499.

Echo Studio

With five built-in directional speakers, Echo Studio has been purposefully engineered to create studio-quality sound with space, clarity, and depth. It has 5.25-inches woofer and 330W of peak power. The device has one 1-inch tweeter and three 2-inches midrange speakers plus, it has a 24-bit DAC and a power amplifier with 100 kHz of bandwidth. Echo Studio shall also automatically sense the acoustics of your space and fine-tunes audio playback to deliver optimal sound—no matter where you put the device in the room.

The Echo Studio smart speaker will use advanced processing from Dolby Atmos.

One or two Echo Studio devices can be paired with the Fire TV Stick 4K for audio playback with multi-channel sound and support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio 5.1, and stereo audio. Echo Studio also has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub which can be used to control compatible smart home devices.

Meanwhile Amazon also introduced some new features to these devices, today. These are abilities to speak to Alexa in Hindi or English, get it to set a routine and get her to adjust her speaking speed.

Interact with Alexa in Hindi or Hinglish

Alexa can now understand customers speaking to her completely in Hindi or Hinglish, in multiple contexts, and varied regional accents and dialects. You can ask Alexa for diverse Hindi content such as jokes, shayaris, games, Kabir ke dohe, Panchatantra stories, Bollywood dialogues, more than 500 Alexa skills, and even spellings of words in Hindi.

Alexa can now adjust how fast (or slow) she speaks
Customers can now ask Alexa to speak slower or speak faster, depending on their preference. Amazon announced that users can now choose from seven speeds – Alexa’s standard speaking rate, four faster speaking rates, and two slower speaking rates. Simply say “Alexa, speak slower,” or “Alexa, speak faster” to adjust Alexa’s speech to the preferred pace on any Alexa-enabled device. To reset Alexa’s speaking rate, simply say, “Alexa, speak at your default rate.”

Alexa can Recommend Routines

Alexa will now be able to recommend routines that you may want to set up based on your daily habits. For example, if a customer sets their alarm for 6 AM and then immediately ask for the weather every day, Alexa will suggest setting up a routine so that the alarm is always set and the weather plays as soon as it goes off. When Alexa asks if you would like a routine set-up, just say “yes,” and the routine is ready to go.

Alexa can tell you about her responses
Alexa will soon offer two new voice-based features that provide customers with more transparency over the responses they get. If a customer is curious to understand what Alexa heard when you asked her to tell you the news or play a specific song, soon you will be able to ask , “Alexa, tell me what you heard” and Alexa will read back your most recent voice request.

Furthermore Amazon said these are some features which will be available for users later from later this year onwards, respecting privacy of individuals, their daily quiet time needs and soon on.  We have elaborated upon them below.

Alexa is becoming multi-lingual
Starting next month customers will be able to switch between English and Hindi when talking to Alexa.

For example, if a customer asks for the weather in Hindi, Alexa will reply in Hindi, e.x. Alexa, aaj mausam kaisa hai?” and when they ask for information in English, Alexa will understand and respond in English e.x. "Alexa, tell me about Chandrayaan-2". This multi-lingual mode can be useful in Indian households where users speak both Hindi and English.

Alexa can whisper
Gone are the days of waking up your spouse or a sleeping child when asking Alexa for information in the morning, for the time when you get home late, or when you just want to turn your alarm off. Whisper Mode is a new feature that allows you to whisper to Alexa, and she will whisper her response back to you. This feature will be rolling out later this year.

Additional control for customers—Auto-Delete Voice Recordings
 Earlier this year Amazon introduced the ability for customers to say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” and “Alexa, delete what I just said” to make it easier for customers, or anyone else interacting with a device, to delete their recordings. Later this year, customers will be able to choose to have their voice recordings older than three or 18 months automatically deleted on an ongoing basis. This feature will be available in addition to the ability to access and delete utterances individually, or all at once, which customers have today.

The all new devices are available for pre-order on and select offline stores starting today and will start shipping later this year. Customers who pre-order can avail of a smart bulb at no extra cost and a smart plug at Rs 199 only.