Web giant Amazon was holding its big back-to-school conference on Wednesday, unveiling an array of devices connected to its voice assistant, Alexa, along with several new features – including more settings to better protect life. private – for its software agent. Overview of what caught our attention.
Wireless headphones to compete with Apple
The new Echo Buds headphones stole the show from the conference. They will be equipped with Bose sound reduction technology and offer up to 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, and 20 hours with the case. Athletes should also appreciate them as they will be water resistant.
They will cost US $ 129 and will be offered on October 30 in the United States. No international release date has yet been determined.
PHOTO : AMAZON
It is almost equivalent to Apple’s AirPods, which offer no sound reduction or water resistance and are sold for $ 70 more in the United States.
Like AirPods, Echo Buds automatically stop your music when you take a headphone out of your ear. They will also have sensors that will adjust the volume, activate a voice assistant or adjust the sound reduction.
They will also be equipped with three microphones, which will of course make phone calls, but also to interact with the voice assistant Alexa, which will be integrated.
Mobile technology connected to Alexa
Amazon caused surprise by unveiling two smart wearable devices: a ring, called Echo Loop, and glasses, named Echo Frames. Both products are quite experimental, the company says they will initially be distributed in limited quantities, and by invitation, before being offered to the general public.
PHOTO : AMAZON
The Echo Loop is essentially a miniature version of Amazon’s smart speaker worn on a finger. The product will be equipped with two microphones and a speaker, in addition to being connected to your phone. It works with the Alexa application and can be activated with the help of a button.
The Echo Frames will perform the same functions as the Echo Loop, that is to say that they will be the intermediary between the person who wears them and Alexa. They are also equipped with a microphone and a speaker, the latter being specially designed so that you are the only person to be able to hear it.
Both products will not have augmented reality features, so you can use them with prescription lenses. They will also have a gesture sensor, which will allow for example to adjust the volume of music you listen from a phone.
Each of these products will be offered for $ 179.99 US.
Smart oven and display, and more
Amazon wants your entire house to be connected to Alexa, and that sounds.
After his smart microwave, Amazon introduces his intelligent oven, which can be controlled by voice using a device connected to Alexa. It can be used as a microwave oven, convection cooker and hot air fryer. He also has the ability to cook prepackaged food according to instructions, by analyzing his packaging. This oven will be sold at $ 249.99 US.
PHOTO : AMAZON
A new device called Echo Flex was also introduced. This is a small speaker that plugs directly into a power outlet and is used to send orders to Alexa from any room in the house. It also includes a USB port, which will be used to charge devices. The device is modular, which means that different accessories, including a nightlight and a motion sensor, can be connected. It will be offered for $ 24.99
PHOTO : AMAZON
A new model of Amazon’s smart screen, the Echo Show 8, will be launched before the holiday season. This one is of intermediate size, that is to say smaller than the standard Echo Show (10 inches) and bigger than the miniature model, the Echo Show 5 (5.5 inches). It will be offered for $ 129.99 US.
The company also unveiled two new Ring security smart cameras: one for the inside of the house and the other for the outside.
Three new smart speakers
Amazon unveiled three new smart speakers in its Echo range. Each targets different types of users.
The cheapest of the trio is the new Echo Dot, the smallest connected speaker that Amazon currently offers. The only difference between this and the third generation model is that it includes an LED clock located under the speaker mesh. It will be sold at US $ 59.99
PHOTO : AMAZON
A new model of the basic Echo has also been announced. It looks a lot like the second-generation Echo that debuted in 2017, and its improvements are marginal: it will be offered in a new color – twilight blue – and should have better sound quality. It will be sold at the same price as its predecessor, $ 129.99 CDN.
The Echo Studio, a new high-end smart speaker, has also been unveiled. It should have a much higher audio quality than other Amazon speakers and will automatically calibrate, using its microphones, to deliver a sound optimized for the room in which it is located.
Better privacy protection with Alexa
Amazon’s vice president of devices and services, Dave Limp, kicked off the conference with a focus on privacy, which he described as fundamental to the company. He then announced several new features of Alexa to demonstrate the commitment of Amazon on this issue.
Beyond the already existing setting that allows users to ask the wizard to delete all conversation history from its servers, it will now be possible to set it to automatically clear records at regular intervals. three months.
It will also be possible to ask Alexa what she heard from your conversations. It may also explain why it executes certain orders or responds in a certain way to what has been asked of it. In short, the decision-making process of the artificial intelligence of the device will be more transparent
Amazon’s smart ring, Ring, can also stop recording sound and video when its owners are at home, if desired.
A more expressive and bilingual voice assistant
The voice assistant will have a more natural voice, which will improve through deep learning, an artificial intelligence process that allows him to learn and improve on his own.
He may also have different intonations according to what he reports. For example, he will take a news reader’s tone when he reads journalistic articles.
A new multilingual mode will also be added to Alexa, which should be useful for homes where people speak several languages. It will be offered initially in three countries: Canada (French and English), the United States (English and Spanish) and India (English and Hindi).
Celebrity voices for Alexa
Stars, including the famous American actor Samuel L. Jackson, will lend their voice to Alexa. They will be offered for US $ 4.99 each.
Amazon did not say what other well-known personalities would embody her voice assistant, but assured her that more news will be released next year.