Here's what to expect — Amazon Echo event

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During a special event in Seattle to mark the announcement of the new gadgets, we got a bit of time to inspect the latest iteration of the Echo Dot. And that's just the start.

What this means: Skype was perhaps the only remaining competitive advantage for Cortana, if you considered its relationship with Alexa an adversarial one. The Dot also houses four far-field microphones built-in to the device to pick up voice commands. About two-thirds of smart speaker users in the USA will use an Amazon Echo this year, compared to less than 30 percent who will use a Google Home, according to EMarketer Inc. It's created to connect with speakers customers already own.

At a previously-unannounced event, Amazon debuted a slew of new Alexa-based products Thursday, including a re-designed Echo Dot, a smart plug, and an Alexa-enabled microwave.

Alexa is even developing a personality, complete with a favorite pet or beer.

So, for example, if you say "Goodnight Alexa", and the front door is unlocked, it may have a hunch you'd like it locked, and respond with "Goodnight, I noticed the front door was unlocked".

It also requires an iOS device to complete set-up, but it does offer the richest sound of all the smart speakers featured here.

Investors are bullish on both - they're the two most valuable companies in the world. Here's everything Amazon announced today. "The new design features a 10" display (up from 7") and new speaker system for enhanced audio with real-time Dolby processing. Still no word from Amazon if it can access YouTube videos natively.

This partnership will allow users to their Echo devices with a screen and say, "Alexa, who won best Actress at tonight's Emmy Awards?" or "Alexa, what is the capital of Uruguay?"

Once it is activated later this year, Alexa Hunches will observe its owners' interactions with connected smart home devices like locks, lights and electricity outlets. It can also connect with any nearby Alexa-compatible speaker or an Echo product itself to play music.

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A quarter of United Kingdom homes now own a smart home device, and analyst IDC has predicted the smart speaker market to be worth more than 17 billion dollars (£12.8bn) by 2022. You can connect devices to your smartphone via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable.

The Echo Input, and Echo Link will be available later this year, while Echo Link Amp should be available in early 2019. The Sub features a down-firing 6-inch subwoofer with 100W of power and pairs wirelessly with any existing Echo or Echo Plus.

When you want to combine Alexa's intelligence with serious sound equipment, now you can with Echo Link ($200).

Smart plugs are already an established idea in the smart home space. With Echo Auto ($25 if you're invited, $50 next year if not) you've got it.

Ring Stick Up Cam.

We'll let you know if and when that happens though, so keep checking here.

Finally, a microwave that can communicate wirelessly to my Amazon Echo!

The AmazonBasics Microwave is available for preorder. Basically, you can control it via voice or manually. Sadly, it has no mics, so it won't be a standalone Alexa experience. Oh, and when it Daylight Saving's Time comes around, it will automatically adjust itself. "Now with Fire TV Recast, we've made it simpler to find, watch, and record live over-the-air TV at home and on your mobile devices".

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