Sep 25, 2019

Amazon brings Alexa to more devices

Last year's Echo lineup on sale in a Washington, D.C. Amazon store. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Amazon unveiled a slew of new Alexa-powered devices Wednesday, updating its smart display and smart speaker lines and adding earbuds and other new products to the lineup.

Why it matters: Getting Alexa in more places is a key to the company's broader strategy, and competition from Google and others is increasing.

Among the hardware introduced at a Seattle event (per The Verge):

  • Echo Buds, $129 Alexa-powered earbuds with built-in Bose noise reduction. Shipping in time for the holidays.
  • A new Echo Dot with a built-in clock.
  • A $199 high-end speaker, Echo Studio.
  • Echo Glow, a $29 smart lamp/nightlight — tap it and it changes colors.
  • A new 8-inch Echo Show for $129.
  • A new 3rd generation Echo, the flagship smart speaker, for $99.
  • A new Echo Flex "smart plug" for $25.
  • A cheaper, $99 version of the Eero mesh WiFi system (Amazon bought Eero earlier this year).

Amazon also showed off new Alexa capabilities, including Amazon Guard, which turns some devices into security cameras, a la Google Nest in Home Hub Max.

On the privacy front, you can now ask Alexa to delete certain data.

The big picture: Amazon's latest Alexa lineup comes as Facebook and Google have both recently refreshed their home device offerings.

Go deeper: Amazon, Google and Facebook battle for smart speaker dominance

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Amazon wants Alexa to leave home

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many of the most important of the dozens of new devices Amazon launched Wednesday have a similar goal: to get people to use Alexa, its voice assistant, outside the house.

Why it matters: Unlike its competitors Apple and Google, Amazon doesn't have its own smartphone platform to use as a home for its voice assistant. As a result, Amazon needs to find other places to put Alexa.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Google debuts Pixel 4, other hardware

Screenshot: Google

Google unveiled its Pixel 4 smartphone and other new Made By Google hardware at an event Tuesday morning in New York City. Other products included a cheaper Pixelbook, more capable mesh WiFi system and a preview of new Google Buds earbuds coming next year.

Why it matters: Google intends for the Pixel to directly compete with Apple's iPhone and, while past versions have received positive reviews, it remains a relatively minor player in the smartphone market.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 15, 2019

Researchers find new way for Alexa and Google Voice to phish users

Photo: Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

A newly discovered variation of an old technique might make it easier for hackers to convince inattentive users of Google Voice and Alexa smart speakers to cough up their passwords.

The big picture: The security flaw was discovered by SRLabs and was first reported by ZDNet, but it has not been witnessed in use by actual hackers. Google has already announced closing the flaw.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019