Amazon adds Ultrasound Motion Detection to select Echo speakers

Amazon has added the ability for 4th-gen Echo and 4th-gen Echo Dots to detect occupancy in a room by emitting an inaudible ultrasound audio wave. The capability can be used to automatically trigger Alexa Routines when you enter or exit a room. When configuring the trigger of a routine, select “Smart Home” and then select the appropriate Echo to be given the option to trigger the routine when “People are detected” or when “People aren’t detected.” You also have the option of enabling or disabling ultrasound motion detection altogether for each compatible Echo device. This is done under the device settings of each Echo within the Alexa app.

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Today is the last day to buy a designer Echo Dot before the price increases

Today is the last day to buy the Echo Dot designed by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg for $59.99. Tomorrow, at 8:59 Am PDT, the price increases to $69.99. The “Midnight Kiss” print, seen above, is the only one of the 3 limited designs to receive enough pre-orders to be produced. The second most popular print, called “Ikat,” has only reached 82% of its pre-order goal and, with only 1 day to go, it will very likely not be produced. If you order the designer Echo Dot, it will ship between Dec. 2021 and Mar. 2022. Should you change your mind after the fact, Amazon says you can return these limited-run Build It devices just like you can any regular Amazon device. Read more ›

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Designer Echo Dot reaches order threshold and will be released — Order by Aug. 13 before the price increases

Last month, Amazon launched its 2nd set of crowdfunded products which were 3 different Echo Dots designed by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The first of those 3 designs, called Midnight Kiss, has reached the minimum order threshold. This means that it will, in fact, be produced and released. If you’re interested in one, you should order it by August 13 because the $59.99 price will increase to $69.99 after that date. The limited-edition Echo Dot will be released between Dec. 2021 and Mar. 2022. The black and white Ikat design has received 51% of necessary orders needed for production and the Twigs design is at 17%, so it’s unlikely that either of those two designs will receiving the necessary pre-orders needed by the August 13 deadline for them to be produced.

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Designer Echo Dots are Amazon’s 2nd round of crowdfunded products

Amazon has launched its 2nd round of Build It products for its crowdfunding program. This time around it is a set of 3 different Echo Dots designed by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Each one costs $59.99 during the pre-order period, which is $10 more than the regular list price of the Echo Dot. Should any of them reach their minimum order threshold by August 13, the price will then increase to $69.99. Read more ›

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Amazon announces new rounded Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Dot Kids Edition

Amazon has announced a series of new spherical ball-shaped Echo smart speakers. Seen above in the following order is the new 4th-gen Amazon Echo for $99.99, the new 4th-gen Echo Dot for $49.99, the new Echo Dot with Clock for $59.99, and the new Echo Dot Kids Edition for $59.99. While the new Amazon Echo may look just like the new Echo Dots from the outside, they’re quite different on the inside. The Echo packs in premium sound, thanks to its dual 0.8″ tweeters and 3.0″ woofer, as well as a Zigbee smart hub, while the Echo Dots have just one 1.6″ speaker. Read more ›

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Dot Genie wall plug mount for the Echo Dot 3 is now available

The Echo Dot 3 Wall Mount by Dot Genie is now available for those of you with the new 3rd-gen Echo Dot who want to hang your speaker from an outlet. The mount uses the stock power adapter that comes with the Echo Dot and, at just $8.99, it’s the least expensive mount available on Amazon. If you order quickly, you might end up getting 2 for the price of 1 because the creator is running a promotion where he’s throwing in a second mount for free with all orders that are placed during the product’s first 24-hours of availability. The mount is available in both black and white. I’ve written about Dot Genie’s products in the past, so just to be clear, I’m not paid or compensated in any way by them to write these posts. I just have a soft spot for “one-man-shops,” like myself, who are trying to make a living, and it just so happens that their products are actually quite nice and very affordable. Update: I’ve been told that the 2-for-1 deal will end tonight at 9pm PT. Orders placed before then will receive double the number of mounts purchased.

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Amazon Echo Dot 3 Overview — Significantly better audio and aesthetics

The all-new 3rd-gen Amazon Echo Dot is out and it is a shockingly impressive device. Even though it’s only slightly larger than the previous model, it sounds so much better than the old Echo Dot that you likely wouldn’t regret upgrading for the significantly better audio alone. On top of the better audio, you’re also getting a much more attractive device. Here’s an overview of the Echo Dot 3. Read more ›

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Amazon announces new 3rd-gen Echo Dot

Amazon has announced a new 3rd-generation Echo Dot. The new model has a fabric outer casing and a softer rounded appearance covered in fabric that is much more attractive than the plastic Echo Dot it replaces. It’s available to pre-order for $49.99 on its own and you’ll automatically save $10 at checkout if you order two of the new Echo Dots. Read more ›

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New 3rd-Gen Amazon Echo Dot Images Leak

Above are images of what is allegedly a new 3rd-generation Amazon Echo Dot that will be released later this year, according to French publications Numerama and FrAndroid. The device is codenamed “Donut,” which follows the round food theme of Amazon’s past Echo Dot codenames, which were Pancake (1st-gen) and Biscuit (2nd-gen). The new Echo Dot is currently being tested by Amazon employees and is said to have superior sound quality, compared to the current generation Echo Dot. Read more ›

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Alexa and Amazon Echo devices are now available in France

Amazon’s Echo devices are now available to pre-order in France. The Amazon Echo will regularly be €99.99 and the Echo Dot will be €59.99. Both will arrive at customer’s doors on June 13th. The Echo Spot is also being made available for €129.99 but it won’t ship until next month on July 23rd. Prices are being discounted for a limited time during launch. Ordering now will land you 50% off all devices. Once the new devices arrive, France will have localized skills from brands like Netatmo, Philips Hue, Uber, Domino’s Pizza, TP-Link, Franceinfo, Legrand, and La Fourchette. Other Alexa-enabled devices will be coming to France from brands like Harman Kardon, Sonos, Ultimate Ears, Netgem, Archos, Boulanger, and Sowee. France is now the 10th country to receive Echo devices after the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, and Canada.

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Redesigned Echo Dot mount perfects the minimalistic hanging holder

Last year I wrote about a new wall mount for the Amazon Echo Dot that cleverly hung the smart speaker from its power adapter. The creator has just released an updated version of the wall mount, called The Essential Mount, that quite possibly perfects the hanging holder style. The new design is sleeker and more compact than it’s predecessor. It also now allows you to mount the Echo Dot in any direction, depending on your outlet’s orientation. It improves on the first design in multiple ways and yet is also significantly cheaper at $7.99 for one or $14.99 for a pair. The mount includes a custom short USB cable, so you just need to provide the Echo Dot and its stock power adapter.

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The Spot Outlet Cover Plate is the cleanest way to mount an Echo Dot to your wall

Apart from cutting a hole in your wall, the new Spot USB Outlet Cover Plate is the cleanest way to mount an Amazon Echo Dot to your wall. This is the latest mount from Dot Genie, whose mounts have previously involved attaching the Echo Dot to its power adapter. This new mount replaces your power outlet’s cover plate with one that has a cradle for the Echo Dot molded into the side of the plate. The reason it’s such a clean setup is that it relies on a USB outlet for power, so it eliminates the large power adapter altogether. The USB power outlet is not included, so you’ll need to have or install your own for this holder to work. Dot Genie recommends this $12 USB outlet by Top-Greener, but most USB outlets capable of 2 Amps of power should work, since they all generally place the USB ports in the same place. The Spot USB Outlet Cover Plate is currently available for $7.99 in white or black and it comes with the small right-angle USB cable.

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New Spot Deluxe outlet wall mount for Echo Dot is simple and minimalistic

A few months ago I posted about The Spot, which lets you hang an Amazon Echo Dot from its power adapter. The creator of it has just released its successor, The Spot Deluxe, which improves on the concept in numerous ways. The new Spot Deluxe incorporates its own power adapter into the mount to greatly reduce the overall size of the device. It’s easily the most minimalistic outlet mount available. A nice touch is including a dummy ground plug on the included power adapter to improve the mount’s rigidity. This new improved mount also no longer blocks the adjacent outlet, which was a common complaint of the first version. The kit includes the mount, power adapter, and a perfectly sized tiny USB cable, providing everything you need to mount a 2nd Gen Echo Dot to a wall outlet. You can buy The Spot Deluxe for $14.99 from Amazon, which is a very reasonable price, considering it comes with its own power adapter.

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Sonos is offering its customers $25 off the purchase of an Amazon Echo Dot

Sonos is offering their customers a $25 discount on an Amazon Echo Dot, occording to The Verge. If you’re a Sonos customer, you should receive an email about the promotion sometime this week. The email will contain a unique code that can be used to purchase an Echo Dot for $24.99 and can only be used once to buy one Echo Dot. Read more ›

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How to modify an Amazon Echo Dot to play audio through both internal and external speakers simultaneously

Ever since the Amazon Echo Dot was released, the most common question I’m asked about it is if there’s a way to connect an external speaker without disabling the internal speaker. This is because many owners want to use their nice sound system when listening to music through the Echo Dot, but don’t want to have to always turn on or unplug their external speakers when asking Alexa a quick question or request. I set out to find a solution to this common gripe and here’s what I came up with. 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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Flush Dot Mount by Mount Genie recesses the Amazon Echo Dot in your wall or ceiling

The creator of The Spot outlet hanger for the Amazon Echo Dot, that I posted about last month, has come out with his second product. If you want a more professional look when mounting the Echo Dot to a wall or ceiling, then you should take a look at the Flush Dot Mount. It’s a perfectly sized pocket that gets recessed in your wall to hold an Echo Dot cleanly flush. This is obviously a bigger commitment than the outlet hanger, since you have to cut a 3 5/8 inch hole in your drywall, but the end result is a much cleaner appearance. The mount comes with a 10 foot USB cable so you can power the Echo Dot from inside your wall. The easiest way would probably be to run the cable through the wall to an outlet in your attic or basement. To thank AFTVnews and Reddit visitors for making his first product a hit, the creator tells me he is selling the Flush Dot Mount at an introductory price of $14.99 for the next few days.

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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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