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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Amazon Refreshes Echo Lineup

Amazon Echo Moves forward, looks to be a considerable update.

Amazon refreshes Echo lineup with new custom chip 

By Stephanie Condon for Between the Lines | in ZDNet

The updated smart speaker lineup also features a sleek new design and new capabilities for kids. Meanwhile, the new Echo Show 10 features a screen that follows you as you move throughout a room.

Amazon on Thursday unveiled a refreshed lineup of Amazon Echo smart speakers, featuring a new, custom chip that will help the AI-powered assistant Alexa respond to commands more quickly. The new devices also include a new design and new features for kids.  Amazon also unveiled the Echo Show 10, a smart speaker with a screen that can follow you as you move throughout a room.  

"In processing, milliseconds matter," Miriam Daniel, VP of Amazon Echo, said during a virtual event hosted by Amazon's Devices and Services team. 

"Imagine asking Alexa to turn on the light, and there's a slight delay," she explained. "Our team worked really hard to shave off hundreds of milliseconds" in Alexa's response time. 

The new devices include a new  AZ1 neural edge processor -- a new silicon module purpose-built to run machine learning algorithms on the edge. It works with new neural speech recognition models that run on the AZ1.   "Together, they make all commands faster on the new Echo," Daniel said. 

The new devices have been redesigned with a spherical shape and a fabric cover, and they come in three colors. Like the Echo Studio, the new devices automatically adapt to the acoustics of a room. 

They also include a built-in smart home hub and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support, and it also serves as an Amazon Sidewalk Bridge. Sidewalk is a low-bandwidth network that uses BLE and the free 900 MHz spectrum to control devices. The protocol is part of Amazon's effort to spur the development of low-cost IoT devices that don't rely on a cellular connection. As a Sidewalk Bridge, the new Echo devices extend the range of your connected Sidewalk devices.   .... " 

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