Amazon today announced the next generation of its Echo home speaker. The update revamps the design, now available in a shorter cylinder build and dedicated bass tweeter.
The model Amazon showed off at the announcement was gray with an all-new fabric exterior. These “shells” will be interchangeable and will be available in other fabrics and finishes like wood or various metals.
The new Echo will start off at $99. That’s a steep discount over the original’s $179.99 price. Better yet, Amazon is also offering a three-unit bundle that offers a $50 discount, bringing the overall price to $250. You can get three Echos for the price of one Apple HomePod ($350), and you’ll still have some change.
Amazon first announced the Echo in 2014, and has since slightly revamped the original design while adding other options like the Echo Dot and Echo Show. But the regular Echo seems to be the sweet spot of functionality and price.
Over the years, Amazon has been busy adding skills to the Alexa assistant, making it easy and kind of fun to bark directions at the speaker. This makes it a perfect set-up for setting timers or controlling smart home appliances through just your voice.
During the event, Amazon also announced the Echo Connect that will connect to a landline and be able to call numbers like 911. It will be sold for $35 and will be available some time later this year.
The new Echo is available for preorder today and will start shipping next month.