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Amazon unveiled a new Echo speaker for $99.99 to compete against rival devices from Apple and Google, setting up a renewed battle this fall for consumers’ mindshare — and dollars.
Dave Limp, the Amazon executive in charge of the company’s voice-driven Alexa devices, says the new Echo has improved sound quality through Dolby and other technologies, plus better speech recognition. And you can dress up Echo with cloth and other “shell” covers.
But it is the price that may well get Apple’s attention, especially given that the yet-to-be released Siri-driven HomePod is priced at $349. It’s not unusual for Amazon to deliver products at lower prices than Apple. Unlike Apple, whose products usually carry a premium, Amazon doesn’t typically look to make much money on hardware so much as to lure buyers into the Amazon ecosystem. Still, the gulf between $99.99 and $349.99 seems particularly significant.
It will also be worth watching to see where Google comes in with Google Home (and the Google Assistant) when it hosts a press event on Oct. 4, both in terms of its pricing and any new features, services or designs.
For its part, Amazon is getting even more aggressive with the new Echo on price, with $50 off if you buy a three-pack.
Price isn’t the only determining factor for buyers, of course. How the new Echo will sound in your home and how it will handle all the latest Alexa “skills” (of which there are now more than 25,000) will go a long way toward determining its ultimate success.
The new Echo was just one of the new products Limp showed off at Amazon’s own press event…