Amazon has announced a new version of its popular Echo Show smart assistant.
The Echo Show 8 3rd generation has redesigned audio technology inside, with support for spatial audio for the first time. This allows it to provide a much wider audio experience – not quite Dolby Atmos, but with a bigger soundfield.
In addition, it has tuning capabilities that will assess its surroundings and then adjust the sound depending on your room. That means you will get a slightly different audio signature in a kitchen. say, to a larger living room.
The new speaker array leads to a tweaked design, too. The rear of the device now has a rounder bump which sits behind the screen. That feature won't really be seen (depending on where you place it) but does give it a more modern feel.
The touchscreen device also gains a new feature that enables the screen to change the closer you are. You may get basic information when stood further away, but more will appear contextually when you approach.
It also gains a smart home hub this time. You can use it to drive all of the supported, connected devices around the home without multiple hubs needing to be hooked up to your home network.
Later, in 2024, owners of the new Echo Show 8 will be able to interact with a new generative AI-driven version of Alexa, which not only reduces the need to use the wake word over and again, it will be more conversational and personal in chats. This new Alexa AI will be available in the States first, and will then hopefully roll out to other countries after.
The new Amazon Echo Show 8 is available to pre-order from today, Wednesday 20 September 2023, for $149.99 in the US, £149.99 in the UK. It'll start to ship next month, from 25 October.