AMAZON has unveiled new versions of its Alexa speakers and the Kindle – with a stylus for the first time – at a special event happening right now.
The hi-tech e-gadgets land just in time for Christmas – and will be high on shopping lists for Black Friday 2022.
New Kindle Scribe – with a stylus
It lands about a year after the 11th-gen Kindle.
But unlike any Kindle before it, this new Kindle Scribe model lets you interact with a stylus.
It’s got a 10.2-inch 300ppi display that Amazon says fits more words than ever.
Amazon has made the device svelte at 5.8mm, and includes Basic and Premium pen options.
The new Premium Amazon stylus pen has a dedicated eraser, a shortcut button, and attaches magnetically to the exterior of the device.
The Basic pen doesn’t include the eraser button or shortcut button.
Amazon wants you to create to-do lists, write journals and take notes using the Scribe stylus.
The pen doesn’t need charging, which gives it a small advantage over a stylus like the Apple Pencil.
The Kindle has a Paperwhite display that’s front-lit and “glare-free”.
It’s available for £329.99/$329.99 on pre-order today and will ship later this year.
There’s also a new version of the Echo Studio – Amazon’s premium Alexa speaker – in a spiffing glacier white colour option.
It’s got new spatial audio processing, and offers up deeper bass than ever before.
These audio upgrades are rolling out to existing Echo Studio owners.
You’ll pay £189.99/$199.99, with shipping starting next month.
If you’re new to Alexa speakers, here’s a quick recap.
Alexa is an “intelligent” personal assistant built by Amazon.
You can find her on several different devices, including Amazon’s Echo speakers.
Alexa responds to voice commands, and can talk back to you.
She can perform thousands of different tasks, including telling you about the news or weather.
But she can do more complex things too, like ordering a pizza or arranging an Uber taxi pick-up.
To activate Alexa, you need to say “Alexa” to an Amazon Echo speaker.
Alexa currently only works in English and German languages.
Because she’s powered by artificial intelligence, Alexa is constantly getting smarter.
Alexa will also get more used to your voice, and better understand what you want her to do over time.
New Echo Dots
Amazon also revealed three new Echo Dot models.
First up are the Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, both of which offer up better sound.
That’s thanks to a custom full-range driver and what Amazon says is the “highest excursion speaker” of any Echo Dot to date.
It means you’ll get up to double the bass of the previous generation Dot.
The form factor of both devices are the same, so it’s a nice boost.
There’s new sensor support too, including temperature tracking and an accelerometer to track new tap-gesture controls.
The Clock version has an upgraded display, too.
You’ll pay £54.99 for the new Echo Dot, or £64.99 for the Clock version.
Amazon also talked up a new version of its special Echo Dot Kits speaker.
It’s an Alexa pod specifically built for kids, and now comes in new Owl and Dragon designs.
There are parental controls to set time limits, filter out explicit songs, and reviewing all use activity.
It costs £64.99 and is available to pre-order right now (just like the new Dot and Dot with Clock) before shipping in October.
Amazon revealed its original Astro droid in late 2021.
It’s a helper robot designed to offer home security monitoring courtesy of built-in cameras.
But it also featured Alexa and functioned as a rolling virtual assistant.
Sadly the droid ranged from $999 to $1,449 and was considered out of reach for most people – so it never became a mainstream gadget.
Amazon has given it a few clever upgrades.
The robot can now be asked to check if a specific door has been left open – courtesy of some clever AI.
And there’s a new pet detection feature too.
Sadly it’s still an invite-only purchase for US customers.
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