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What will be the control center in the smart home of the future? For Amazon, the answer is clear: Alexa and smart displays. With the Amazon Echo Hub, the eCommerce giant places another bet on the market, and there is also a new Echo Show 8 for 2023. nextpit is on site in Washington and has a few first impressions for you!
Even if Matter has its teething problems: In the long run, our homes will become smarter and more connected—and hopefully more compatible thanks to the open standard. But how do we best organize our smart home?
Amazon Echo Hub
Amazon's answer to this question: With the Echo Hub. It is more or less a tablet in 8-inch format that you can either hang on the wall or set up with a stand. You can then manage your smart home ecosystem on the customizable dashboard—from cameras to temperature sensors, light switches to routines. Thanks to an infrared sensor, the Echo Hub is supposed to detect if someone is nearby and then automatically turn on.
The Echo Hub offers broad support for—according to Amazon—140,000 different devices. Standards include Zigbee, Matter and Thread, Bluetooth, and, of course, Wi-Fi. Even an Ethernet port is available—including PoE. Thanks to Power over Ethernet (PoE), you don't need to pull out an additional power cable besides the network cable.
Amazon has not yet revealed when the Echo Hub will be available on the market, only that it will be "later this year". The manufacturer's recommended retail price will be $179.99 (€199.99 for Europe).
Amazon Echo Show 8 (2023)
In addition to the Echo Hub, there was also a new Echo Show 8 on display at the Amazon event in Washington. The smart home display is said to offer an improved and, above all, more responsive display compared to its predecessor. Amazon also promises progress for the sound. A new speaker setup provides more sound volume.
Similar to the Echo Hub, the new Echo Show 8 is supposed to adjust the content displayed on the screen depending on whether people are in the immediate vicinity or a bit further away. In this way, interesting and easy-to-read content is always to be seen on the display. This Adaptive Content is also expected to be rolled out to older Echo Show 8 models (2nd and 3rd generation) in October and find its way to other Echo devices early next year.
The new Amazon Echo Show 8 (4th Gen) is set to launch in white and anthracite, with pre-orders starting soon and shipping in October. The recommended retail price for the US is $149.99 (€169.99 in Europe), and Amazon also offers an adjustable stand with a USB-C charging port as an option.
New functions for Alexa
There is news not only in the hardware but also in the software. For example, Alexa is learning a few new tricks. For example, there are supposed to be new widget quick actions on Echo Show devices that users can place directly at the top of the display of compatible Echo Show devices. In addition, frequently used devices or contacts called via drop-in can be anchored directly on the home screen. Speaking of drop-ins, there is now the option for live subtitles for calls.
Additional options for triggering routines are also new. For example, a simple "Alexa, good night" can start a routine that turns off all lights and devices in the living room.
How do you currently control your smart home—and how would you like to control it in the future? I'm looking forward to your opinion in the comments!