Amazon has updated its digital assistant-packing Echo Dot speaker and its launching in the US, UK and Germany first.
The first gen Echo Dot was launched in the US back in March this year and with the Echo Dot 2, you're essentially getting a slimmer design, volume buttons, a more powerful processor to help make Alexa smarter and it's cheaper too.
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Available in black or white, it works in exactly the same way as the predecessor and the bigger Amazon Echo using voice recognition tech with the blue illuminating ring on top letting you know when Alexa, the voice search assistant is listening. The big difference here is that you can connect the Dot up to an existing set of speakers via Bluetooth or the audio cable that's bundled in.
The sound performance on the first gen Echo wasn't great, so that means now you can enjoy responses to your questions and queries with better clarity. You will also be able to ask the Dot to play music from streaming services like Spotify and Pandora too.
There's still a small speaker on board too letting you use it as a smart alarm clock or as a way to control smart home devices including Nest's smart thermostats.
It retains the same Echo smarts as its bigger brother, letting you do things hands-free like order a pizza, call for an Uber, check in on a flights and a whole lot more. With its launch outside of the US, it's now better prepared for UK-centric commands like asking about the scores in the football, recognising foods like Marmite and it even comes with a British sense of humour.
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There's now UK-specific Alexa skills to tap into including support for Spotify, Philips Hue, Hive, Just Eat, National Rail Enquiries and will even bark out Jamie Oliver recipes.
Amazon is also introducing a new ESP (Echo Spatial Perception) feature, which is designed for when you've got multiple Echo Dots dotted around the house. The software, which will be rolling out to other Echo devices in the coming weeks, can work out which Dot you are closest to and that will be the speaker that responds to your request first.
If you want a second generation Echo Dot, it's launching on 20 October, but you can already pre-order one from the Amazon website. A single Dot costs $49.99. In a bid to litter your entire home with Dots, Amazon is also offering them in a 6-pack where you get one free when you buy 5. There's also a 12-pack that gets you 2 Dots for free.
The announcement to launch a new Dot coincides with the decision to bring the original Amazon Echo speaker to the UK and Germany. There's going to be a whole lot more people talking to Alexa over the coming months.
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