Amazon pushes harder into the smart home with new Echo device and experiences


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Amazon has been at the forefront of the smart home for years with its range of Echo speakers. Today it’s pushing even harder into the space with the launch of a few new products, and an improved user experience across its new and existing products.

Let’s take a look at the new products first, shall we?

Amazon Echo Hub, part of the new Amazon smart home launch

The Echo Hub: a new smart home control panel

The latest Echo Hub is a smart home control panel that incorporates Alexa technology, streamlining the control of various smart home devices.

Its installation is straightforward, and it boasts a slim, eight-inch touchscreen display.

Its dashboard, which can be personalised to the user’s liking, simplifies grouping and managing smart home devices.

Users can view multiple feeds simultaneously, start a Routine, arrange widgets, and control volume and media streaming.

Furthermore, the Echo Hub is versatile, supporting over 10,000 connected devices, including cameras, lights, locks, plugs, thermostats, speakers, and more. 

Echo Hub retails for AU$329 and customers can sign up to be notified when pre-orders are available in Australia.  

Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max: Easy streaming

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is Amazon’s latest and most advanced streaming media player, featuring a 2.0GHz quad-core processor and the innovative Fire TV Ambient Experience.

It holds the distinction of being the first streaming stick in the industry to offer Wi-Fi 6E support.

This means that users with a compatible router can expect a smoother streaming experience with reduced latency, increased speeds, and minimal interference from other Wi-Fi devices in the household.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max retails for AU$119 and will be available for pre-order today.

The Fire TV Stick 4K, meanwhile, has an updated 1.7GHz quad-core processor, making it nearly 30% more powerful than the previous generation. 

The Fire TV Stick 4K retails for AU$79 and will be available for pre-order today. 

Usability improvements

The promise of the smart home seems to have stagnated a little in recent years. Amazon is hoping to kickstart it again by adding some improvements to the functionality across its devices.

The Ambient experience arriving on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max turns any TV into a piece of art like the Samsung Frame. There are over 2000 free artworks available.

It also allows users to show helpful information on the big screen, from calendars, reminders and sticky notes for family members.

On the Echo Show 15, Amazon is introducing a Top Connections widget to offer faster access to quickly connect with your favourite contacts.

It will also come to the Echo Show 5, 8 and 10 in coming months.

The final new improvement announced today is Adaptive content for the Echo Show 8, which uses on-device technology to adjust the content on screen depending on how close you are to the device.

It will arrive for the Echo Show 8 next month, and other Echo Show devices later this year.

[via Amazon]


  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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