Google Home Mini Outsells Amazon Echo Dot

Google smart displays

AMAZON'S new Alexa hardware has leaked ahead of a planned announcement later today.

The all-new Amazon Echo Plus costs $149.99 in the U.S., £139.99 in the UK.

Set to cost $49.99, the device is specially designed for use in automobiles which are typically louder than your home.

Alexa is also busting out of the Echo speakers' curved plastic casing - and will now respond directly to commands on a new $60 AmazonBasics-branded microwave oven. The Echo Sub is priced at $129.99. It is created to be mounted to a vehicle's dashboard and is powered by an included micro-USB cable.

A total of 11.7 million of the devices were sold in the second quarter, with Google and Amazon making four of the top five devices and accounting for more than half of global sales. Notably, Alexa Guard turns your Echo products into little monitors that listen for breaking glass and smoke detectors. A $24.99 Echo Auto device, available now by invitation, sits on your dashboard and connects to Alexa via your phone, letting you bring the virtual assistant all on all your road trips. It ships later this year.

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One thing that Google might be pushing with the smart Home Hub is that you can ask the display to show photos of whatever you're looking for from Google Photos. When you holler at your smart speaker to set a timer, for example, a set of LED lights will appear around the side of the clock, showing how much time is left in the countdown.

And of course the company has been behind some of the most commercial audio products of recent years with its Echo smart speaker range. The first physical design, a matte black cylinder, was uninspired, but the always-on speaker and Alexa resonated with consumers. Surprisingly we don't see any camera on the device, so video calling might not be possible.

Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices introduced the products in a surprise announcement at its headquarters at The Seattle Spheres, according to the company's live blog. Up until now, Google has three smart speakers, and this seems like a very obvious move as the addition of a display will completely change the way users interact with Google Assistant. However, Google's Home smart speaker has made up quite a bit of ground over the past several months.

Already have a speaker you love? Apple, which should have had an advantage given its existing investments into Siri, released its higher-end HomePod in early 2018 to tepid reviews.

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