Amazon just announced 6 new products:
- $99 cloth-covered Echo (3 pack - save $50)
- $150 Echo Plus
- $20 Echo Buttons
- $35 Echo Connect
- $70 Fire TV 4K
- $130 Echo Spot
Amazon just announced 6 new products:
Depends on the features of the software, but looks like they are going after HomeKit with the Echo Plus
Whoa. An Echo smart home hub. That’s got to make some folks nervous.
Other than that, the Echo Connect is clearly for grandparents, because who else still has a land line?
The Echo (2nd Gen) is the Google Home we all expected.
Echo Buttons… sounds like a 3rd party toy.
The Echo Spot is a really nice design, but having an Echo Show, I wonder how useful it’ll be - especially now that YouTube is off the Echo as Amazon and Google duke it out. I could do without an alarm clock that shows me lyrics and random “wacky story of the day” showing up in my face. I definitely don’t want to videoconference from bed anymore than I want to in my kitchen.
The Echo Spot looks like a great baby monitor.
I have a landline. My medical monitoring equipment requires it.
Also… I’m wondering if those buttons will end up being usable as button triggers for the echo plus home automation routines.
I actually thought as I was hitting enter that “JDRoberts is going to remind me that I’m being thoughtless” Sorry for that.
But still, not a growing demographic, landlines.
But the Echo Plus is interesting. From The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/27/16374254/amazon-event-2017-news-recap-echo-spot-fire-tv-hardware?amp;amp;amp;
"As part of the original Echo refresh, Amazon announced the Echo Plus. It’s the same size as the original, but it will now act as a smart home hub, with second-generation far-field voice recognition and enhanced sound. It also uses Zigbee as a low-power way to extend its wireless range. The Echo Plus is priced at $149, and it’s compatible with over 100 smart home devices that you can set up via voice, without any apps. The Plus comes with a Philips Hue smart light bulb in every box; it’s available in black, white, and silver. The Echo Plus is available for preorder today and comes out on October 31st.
Alexa can now add multiple events to a routine that you activate with one command. For instance, saying, “Alexa, good morning” can turn on the lights, open a smart window shade, get the weather, or command a teakettle to boil water in one fluid motion."
I wonder if it only does zigbee? Also the Hue bulb included is a nice move by Philips.
True. It’s fascinating that they decided to create the landline bridge. Yes, there are a lot of us who are younger who might be able to use it as an accessibility device, but most companies don’t think of us when they’re designing mass-market equipment. I’m sure their intended target is that grandparent market, but hey, I’m just glad to see it out there.
And it looks like there is a developers API for the “gadget” which includes the buttons, so they can definitely be a home automation switch if someone who writes skills wants to use them that way.
The echo plus has a zigbee coordinator in it. No zwave. That’s interesting, since that’s what the Google on 24 router was supposed to be (Wi-Fi plus zigbee) but they could never get it to work right. But I’m assuming Amazon wouldn’t be releasing this if it didn’t work, they usually test stuff very thoroughly.
And the announcement everyone missed…
Echo plus will be the one to watch, when i first got my Echo within 2 hrs of asking stupid questions it became apparent it needed to incorporate some form of home automation, well now it does, it will be very interesting to see what it is capable off, smartthings allows finite customisations with apps, will the Echo software embrace those smartthings customisations if not at the start then perhaps down the line…
and i noticed it allows door locking/unlocking
I just preordered one for my roommate! Seems it will work A LOT better than his current hands free phone in his room.
“Activate telephone” (To pick up)…
ring ring ring…
CHAD picks up.
“activate telephone” (to hang up)
“Alexa, call dad”
“Call dad, right?”
ring ring ring…
We just got our echo connect for use with the landline.
It works great and has some clever features. You get to specify whether you want caller ID to be your landline number or your mobile number. It works with any echo devices you have on that same Amazon account, so you can use it in multiple rooms in the house, you just need one echo connect device per line.
And there’s a setting in the account where you can say whether you want it to dial out on your actual landline or on the Amazon VOIP line that you are using for Amazon messaging – – but it’s smart enough to know that even if it is set up for the VOIP line, it should switch to the landline for things that only the landline can do, like 911 calling.
That’s perfect for me, because my landline is set up only for local basic calling, i use my mobile for calling anybody who lives more than about 15 miles away. So this way I can do both: use an echo device to call my friends in the city and use my echo device to use my landline to call 911 if needed.
Setup requires a smartphone associated with your Amazon account running the Alexa app
There’s only one big negative, which is that you have to use the app on the cell phone which is associated with your Amazon account to set up the Connect to begin with, even though you are going to be using it with a landline.
If you try to set it up on a tablet instead, it will look like it’s setting up and then it will crash in the middle without giving you any error message. Which is dumb.
At that point, you have to reset the connect device with a paperclip, and then start over doing the initial set up on the mobile phone. Do the full set up, including giving a Street location, and after that it will just work great.
So I have it, I like it, we will definitely use it at our house, but somebody with a mobile phone that can be associated to your Amazon account has to set it up for you using that mobile phone. After that, the mobile phone can leave the house and the connect will still work.
So voila: for $35 plus your existing echo device, you get a totally hands-free speaker phone for a landline which can even call 911. For those of us without full use of our hands, that is awesome.
We got ours today too. And obviously I like it for all the reasons you gave, but I ran into a big downfall. When you select it to use the landline to call out it automatically dials 1 and the area code to “make sure the call goes through”. When this happens, our phone provider gives us a message saying it’s not necessary to dial 1 for local calls, and therefore will not make local calls from the landline. This is not a huge deal for us, because using the cellphone number works just fine. But it’s very annoying and that feature should be able to be switched off.
BUT, we were able to get rid of my roommates clunky voice activated phone that is a PITA to use. No more programming individual numbers or yelling at a machine that doesn’t hear/understand you.
Mine arrived and is configured. JD, you are correct about the need for a smartphone. It has been so ever since the calling and drop-in features first arrived. Fortunately, amazon is now alerting folks to that requirement.
Anyway, I have turned off the ringers on all my home phones. It is FAR more civilized to have alexa’s smooth voice proclaim “incoming call from ________ “ than to have a bell ringing. In fact it reminds me a bit of “2001 - A Space Oddysey”, which suits me just fine. I would add a single ‘ping’ before the announcement, and I would have a way for alexa’s volume to default to maximum when it is engaged in calling. You still get the option to pick up a handset or use a speakerphone, and now you get the option of “Alexa, answer”.
This is the option under which I can see handsets finally (mostly) going away.
EDIT: it actually does ‘ping’ sufficiently when it rings. Dunno how I missed that on its first day. Very happy with it… this is really cool
The biggest missing feature we have found is that there’s no keypad equivalent for when you’re supposed to “press 3 for tech-support” or whatever. Unless there’s some way to do it and we haven’t figured it out yet.
Other than that, we like it a lot.