Amazon grows its Echo chamber with a range of new Alexa devices

Alexa Guard is Amazon's entry into the home security market.

That was slightly ahead of the Echo Dot, the similarly sized device from Amazon, with an 18 percent market share.

Set to cost $49.99, the device is specially designed for use in automobiles which are typically louder than your home. The screenshots reveal that Google has partnered with 400 brands to offer compatibility with more than 5,000 smart devices.

We weren't blessed with the Alexa-enabled microwave (thank goodness) but we are getting to see a Smart Plug and a sub-woofer. It is created to be mounted to a vehicle's dashboard and is powered by an included micro-USB cable. According to David Limp, the senior vice president of Amazon Devices, the ubiquitous microwave was long overdue for an upgrade.

At £75 (US$96), it seems like a fairly low-priced way to make your Echo sound better, if you're already invested in the Alexa ecosystem.

Then there's the $29.99 Echo Wall Clock, which uses Bluetooth to connect to your Echo device.

The Echo Sub
The Echo Sub

Are you going to pre-order any of these devices? They ship later this year.

To that end, Alexa's does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Multi-Room Music feature will soon be available to all device makers, such as Sonos and Bose, as Amazon was keen to name-drop. Amazon Echo was in third, followed by Alibaba Tmall Genie in fourth and Google home in fifth. All these will be coming as a part of a free software update. For example, by saying, "Alexa, bedtime", a programmed device could turn off the lights, play a lullaby and set the temperature to 65 degrees.

To give your existing Echo speaker a deeper range, Amazon announced Echo Sub. And Amazon has made some off its cloud-based controls local to the Echo Plus, meaning lights can be controlled even when your internet is down.

In reference to the latter question, the microwave provides an opportunity for Amazon to try out a new developer's toolkit and to do what the online retailer does best - sell you stuff. Google was first with its Home speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Alongside the phones, Google is also expected to launch a smart speaker, which according to rumours will be called Google Home Hub.

Already have a speaker you love? There's not enough time for the Cupertino company to release a new, cheaper version of the smart speaker before the holiday season, so Apple will need to drop the price on the existing Homepod in order to compete.

  • Latoya Cobb