Amazon changes Echo lineup

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Amazon launched an updated lineup of Amazon Echo smart speakers on Thursday, featuring a new, personalized chip that will help Alexa’s AI-powered assistant respond faster to commands. A revised concept and improved capabilities for children are also included with the new devices. The Echo Display 10, a smart speaker with a screen that can track you as you walk around a room, was also unveiled by Amazon.

“Milliseconds matter in processing,” Miriam Daniel, VP of Amazon Echo, said during a virtual event organized by the Software and Services team of Amazon.

“She explained,” Imagine asking Alexa to turn on the light and there’s a small pause. “In Alexa’s answer time,” our team worked very hard to cut off hundreds of milliseconds.

A new AZ1 neural edge processor is included in the new devices — a new silicon module designed to run machine learning algorithms on the edge. It runs with new versions of neural speech recognition that function on the AZ1.

“Together, on the latest Echo, they render all the commands quicker,” Daniel said.

With a rounded shape and a cloth shell, the new gadgets have been revamped and they come in three colours. The new devices respond automatically to the acoustics of a room, much like the Echo Studio.

They also have a smart home hub built-in and support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and it also acts as an Amazon Sidewalk Bridge. The sidewalk is a low-bandwidth network that monitors equipment by using BLE and the limited 900 MHz spectrum. The protocol is part of the initiative by Amazon to promote the development of low-cost IoT devices that do not rely on a cellular connection. As a Sidewalk Bridge, the latest Echo systems expand the range of Sidewalk devices connected to you.

The Echo Dot Kids Version has also been revamped by Amazon, including new templates and a new instructional feature named Reading Sidekick. Alexa Voice Profiles for Kids is now being implemented by the firm, so Alexa can know when she connects with a child and turns to kid mode. The AI assistant can give kid-friendly replies, games, and more in that mode.

As for the Amazon Echo Show 10, what Amazon calls “intelligent action” features the new iteration of the smart monitor. The computer will turn to face the user and track the user while moving around a room as they interact with the device. The Echo Display 10, a smart speaker with a screen that can track you as you walk around a room, was also unveiled by Amazon.

 

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