Amazon Echo

Amazon+Echo

Jack Purcell, Reporter

Nearly three years after the first Amazon Echo was released, Amazon has released a redesigned smart speaker. Only instead of facing almost no competition, Google Home is growing very fast, and Apple will soon release its HomePod smart speaker which will possibly leave the Amazon Echo in the dust.

The second-generation Echo, Amazon shrank the device from a tall, black cylinder to a shorter, more aesthetically appealing “Dot”. In addition to a more compact size, Amazon also offers six different coats of varying color and material. A light ring still appears at the top of the Echo, turning blue when the wake word is heard. The ring also lights up bright yellow, slowly flashing when you have a notification.

On top of the Echo are the volume controls, an action button, and a mute button. Amazon has continued to add new features to its Alexa platform since it first launched. Like multi-room music, and routines. With routines, you can do things like say “Alexa, good morning” and the Echo to have your coffee pot powered on and lights turned on. Of course, the list of Alexa skills and features that the Echo has long had access to are still available. Ask for weather updates, set reminders, create timers, or play trivia games.

Amazon’s competition was not only getting smarter, but it was starting to look better. The second-generation Echo, however, keeps pace with competitors and lowers the price point at the same time.