Amazon rolls out new device

Amazon (AMZN) on Wednesday unveiled a newly designed Echo, giving the device its first major upgrade after introducing it nearly three years ago.

The new Echo costs $100, a drop from the original Echo’s price of $180. A pack of three will be sold for $50 off.

Amazon also revealed a device called Echo Connect, which can make phone calls, including to 911. It will cost $35 and is coming in the fourth quarter.

Both device are now available for pre-orders.

The lead-up to Wednesday’s announcement saw a flurry of rumors about potential Amazon devices. For weeks, Amazon had stopped regularly stocking its original Echo speakers on its website, and had previously discounted the devices by 50 percent to $90 apiece. 

With the Echo going nearly three years without a hardware update, speculation grew that Amazon was planning to release its next Echo model, especially as a way to better compete with the upcoming, higher-end Apple HomePod speaker, priced at $349. Building on that concept, Engadget reported in July that Amazon was preparing to come out with a shorter, slimmer Echo with a cloth covering.

The Fire TV, too, was going out of stock. The publication AFTVnews released leaked images of a new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV box that appeared to have increased Alexa capabilities, bolstering rumors that the streaming device was getting an update of its own.

Also, the Financial Times reported this month that Amazon was developing a pair of smart glasses that use Alexa, as well as a new internet-connected security camera system.

Amazon had declined to comment on any of these reports.

This article originally appeared on CNET.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Source: CBS News – Moneywatch

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