Amazon’s new 2nd-gen Echo has interchangable outer shells

Amazon thankfully decided to make their all-new 2nd-generation Echo in more colors than just black and white. It turns out that the outer shell of the Echo 2 is actually interchangeable and you can purchases additional shells separately if you’d like. The fabric shells are $19.99 each while additional wood or silver shells are $29.99. The silver shell is described as “polycarbonate with a silver paint finish,” so if you were hoping it was actually metal, I’m sorry to say it’s just painted plastic. The oak and walnut shells are described as “wood veneer with an oak/walnut-colored finish,” so it sounds like those, at least, are made of actual wood. The shells are available to pre-order today and will be released the same day as the Echo 2. Thanks @Erinescence for tip!

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Amazon Alexa and Echo devices are now available in India

Amazon is continuing their expansion of Alexa and Echo devices to new countries. They announced a couple of days ago that Alexa and Echos were coming to Japan later this year and now have announced that they’re also being made available in India. The Echo devices are available by invite only starting today at an introductory price with a free year of Prime membership included. Read more ›

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Echo devices can now call US, Canada, and Mexico numbers for free — No extra hardware necessary

All Amazon Echo devices, including the Echo Dot, Echo Show, and the new next generation Echo models, can now make landline phone calls to the US, Canada, and Mexico completely for free without needing anything extra to buy. This is an expansion of the Alexa-to-Alexa calling capabilities released earlier this year which now lets you call regular phone numbers, whether or not the person you are calling has ever used an Alexa device. Read more ›

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Amazon announces new smaller 2nd-gen Echo speaker for $99

Amazon today announced an all-new Echo smart speaker as the succesor to the very popular original Amazon Echo that kicked off the recent wave of home voice assistants. The new speaker is about half the size of the original Echo and comes in a variety of stylish exterior finishes and colors. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo devices now support multi-room audio playback

After several leaks, Amazon has now added support for multi-room audio to the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. The new feature allows you to group together multiple Echo devices and play music on all devices simultaneously. The feature is also being made available to 3rd-party speaker manufacturers so non-Echo devices can also sync music with Amazon’s own speakers. Read more ›

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Amazon likely clearing out Echo supply for next-gen models

The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap went on sale earlier this week and currently remain on sale. Whenever Amazon devices randomly go on sale, people are always too quick to conclude that the retailer must be clearing out stock of the current models because new models will soon be announced. That is usually not what is happening and it’s usually just a regular sale. However, while I hardly ever take this stance, I do believe this current sale is actually meant to clear out stock for an imminent announcement of new models. Read more ›

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Amazon’s next Echo will reportedly be smaller and sound better

Amazon has expanded their Echo line quite a bit since the release of the original Amazon Echo, but it sounds like they’re now working on the original’s successor. A source tells Engadget that Amazon is planning to release the 2nd-generation Amazon Echo this fall. THe new device is supposed to improve on the current model in every way, including size, appearance, and audio quality. Read more ›

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Amazon to turn all Echo and Echo Dots into home intercoms by adding Drop-in feature

Now that you can make calls and send messages with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, users have been wanting to use the devices as home intercom systems. The upcoming Echo Show, which will be released tomorrow, has a Drop-in feature that will facilitate intercom-like communication, but buying a $230 device for every room isn’t feasible for most. Thankfully, Amazon has announced that they’re adding the Drop-in feature to all Echos and Echo Dots, which will turn them into full-fledged intercoms. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo and Echo Dot will soon be able to stream live audio from security cameras

Amazon today announced additional details about the new security camera capabilities of Alexa. Along with that announcement, it was revealed that Alexa devices without a screen, like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, will also have access to live feeds from security cameras. Obviously, since those devices don’t have screens, you won’t be able to view a camera feed using them, but you will be able to say something like “Alexa, listen to the baby’s room” to hear a live audio feed of a particular security camera. While that’s not nearly as useful as viewing a camera, it’s better than nothing. This is also a good indication that easy access to security cameras using Alexa will be coming to other Alexa-enabled devices, like the Fire TV and Fire tablets.

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Amazon Echo & Echo Dot will soon use a yellow light to indicate unheard messages

When Amazon introduced their new calling and messaging features for Alexa devices, they selected a pulsing green light as the indicator of an unheard message waiting to be played. The issue with that is it’s very similar to the spinning green light that indicates a call is coming in, so it’s very easy to mistake one for the other.

Amazon will soon be resolving this by replacing the pulsing green message indicator light with a solid yellow light. Yellow is not used for any other Echo and Echo Dot light ring functionality, so it should be obvious that a new message is waiting, that is, now that you know what it means. If you see a yellow light ring, just say “Alexa, play my message” to hear the message. Amazon says this change will go into effect “in the coming weeks.”

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