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Dave

Amazon's new Echo, Smaller and cheaper at $99

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Dave

Amazon announced a new Echo is headed our way.  It's smaller, sounds better, does multi-room audio, and is only $99.

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They also announced a bridge device that will allow you to make calls with Alexa.  It's the Connect and will be $35.  It will use your "landline" service and can even call 911.

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Amazon also announced a 2 for $20 button that is supposed to be for family game night. They demo'd it with a trivia game.  Think "game show" button and there is an API so developers can get busy implementing ideas with these.  I'm thinking home automation though!

 

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I'll update this thread as more information comes out.

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Dave

Amazon announces the Echo Spot alarm clock with 2.5" screen.

 

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It has a line out, bluetooth, and can make video calls.  It will go for $130 and will ship in December.

 

The Echo Plus is Amazon's updated Echo.  It looks the same as it's first iteration, a big tube, but has home smarts built in this time. It's a home automation hub, sort of. It can discover devices and work with them right out of the box.  No skills, drivers, or additional software required.  It ships with a Philips light bulb and will be $149.

 

In another demonstration, Amazon showed Alexa performing multiple tasks with just one voice command.  If you have SmartThings this will be familiar as, Good Night, I'm Home, routines.  Good Night, for example, could turn the lights off, lock the door, and close the shades.  That sort of thing.

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Dave

Hello 4K TV's, Amazon has a new Fire TV Box that is 4K and supports Dolby Atmos HDR technology.  It sells for $69.

 

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SpivR

The built-in hub in the Echo Plus is Zigbee.  Many people asking why they didn't go with Z-wave.  The "PR" answer is that there was enough Z-wave options out there already.

If they wanted a homerun instead of a triple, they should have added both Zigbee and Z-Wave.

 

I like what Amazon is doing, but all their products are always "just a little rough" around the edges in both hardware and software "fit and finish".

It's a shame we can't get the awesome attention to detail of an Apple design with the open/3rd party friendliness of Amazon.

(Then again, it could be worse - we could get the "closed/walled garden" of Nest)

 

Also:

The new "scenes" feature is limited to Amazon built-in automation.  It does not work with 3rd party skills (at least right now).

 

That's a shame - with Stringify being purchased by Comcast/Xfinity, a good toolkit for linking multiple actions into simplified macros/scenes is sorely needed right now.

Edited by SpivR

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jagowar
On 9/30/2017 at 6:10 PM, SpivR said:

The built-in hub in the Echo Plus is Zigbee.  Many people asking why they didn't go with Z-wave.  The "PR" answer is that there was enough Z-wave options out there already.

If they wanted a homerun instead of a triple, they should have added both Zigbee and Z-Wave.

 

I like what Amazon is doing, but all their products are always "just a little rough" around the edges in both hardware and software "fit and finish".

 

 

I think that lack of finish is exactly why they didn't do both.  There really is very little reason for both standards to exist and keeping both adds unnecessary cost and complexity to the system.  With amazon selecting only one and having that be their HA platform you know everybody who has a zigbee device is working to get alexa certified and those that do both are probably going to start focusing more efforts on zigbee.  Creating that standardization imo is a good thing and has needed to happen for years.

 

I actually got my plus in the other day and am pretty impressed with the zigbee integration.  It is still early and the features are basic but it works very smoothly which to me is the important part.

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SpivR

I disagree.  There is a need for both Zigbee and Z-Wave, at least in the near term (6 months to 2 years or so).

Ignoring the technical differences, marketing issues, competitive posturing, etc. the real world practical issue is that Zigbee has been adopted by the major lighting manufacturers and commercial/building automation companies while Z-Wave is the favorite of security/alarm companies, smart locks, and sensors.

 

It you want to have a robust automation system that includes all of these components, you will most likely need to support both Z-Wave and Zigbee devices.

 

You can always shop around and find "something" with the interface you have, but that means you have to compromise on features, functionality, and brand preference.

With a hub-centric approach, you have the freedom to mix your deployment.  If you use Amazon as your hub, you'll still need to buy a Z-Wave hub to have the most options.

Edited by SpivR

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jagowar

From the very beginning i always saw this as a long play that was never targeted at the enthusiast, they are going after the much larger customer base who doesn't care about protocols/hubs or advanced options.  What amazon wants with the HA platform is exactly what they did with the echo originally.  The secret sauce that the original echo got right was making talking to a voice assistant easy and seamless.  Just look at how they are branding their "simple setup" devices as proof. https://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=17238426011&ref_=ods_sr_dp_simplesetup

 

I see this very much as amazon's "homekit" but developed on an open standard.

 

Edited by jagowar

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