As if the Echo – powered by the brilliantly sassy voice assistant Alexa – wasn’t already a cool enough gadget as it is, Amazon is set to release a sling of new gadgets to pair with the popular smart speaker. Although the forthcoming items are known in the industry as Day 1 Editions, meaning products that are past the beta stage but aren’t quite ready for mass production, so only a limited amount of people will actually be able to try the new Echo products. That said, if they are a success, then anyone and everyone can enjoy the items just as they would the Echo. We’ve already seen the wireless Amazon Echo Buds, but read on to find out what else is happening with Amazon’s gadgets.
The Frames are simply Echo-enabled glasses that can be worn without prescription lenses, although different lenses can be swapped if you consider wearing these long-term. The design is fairly clean and nice enough, something for all tastes you might say, but what you’re really paying for is the connection to Alexa. The voice assistant can respond to commands given from you while you wear the Echo Frames, as these come with a built-in microphone and two speakers placed close to your ears. This means you can easily hear Alexa while you move about the house, and even listen to podcasts or music without the need for headphones. Thankfully, there’s no camera, unlike the not-so-popular Google Glass or Snapchat Spectacles.
Don’t like the idea of wearing glasses? Then how about the Echo Loop. This is a sci-fi-looking ring that has the same goal as the Frames, to chat with Alexa and listen to responses, music and podcasts on-the-go. The design is quite chunky and might not be so fashionable or comfortable for everyone to wear, but it still appears very cool and gives Echo users the chance to have more freedom for when and where they can give commands to Alexa. “Paired with your phone, this ring lets you access information throughout the day,” explains Amazon. “It’s super easy to connect with Alexa without breaking stride or digging out your phone, for those simple things like turning on the lights or calculating the tip on your lunch bill. Simply press a button, talk softly to Alexa, and then the answer comes discretely through a small speaker built into the ring.” There is also a vibrating feature to alert the wearer about reminders or notifications.
What else is new?
Alexa Skills are still big news, which are essentially different ways you can customize your own Echo with more features beyond the standard installation. It’s even possible to create Alexa skills yourself via the online settings, depending on what you require out of your Amazon Echo. The latest Skill being offered is actually hearing Alexa with the voice of actor Samuel L. Jackson! There will also be an option to turn on or off his ability to swear profoundly. The Skill will initially cost 99c but will move up to $4.99 after the introductory period. There are even Alexa Skills to help you become a champagne expert!