At the beginning of this year, Amazon announced that Amazon Sidewalk, a program that uses Ring cameras and Echo devices to transmit wireless signals that can be used by other smart home devices, would be open to all hardware developers. Anyone who wants to make a smart home device such as a speaker or lawn mower can now make it Sidewalk compatible to help it and other compatible devices stay online.
Of course, for this to work, you need a smart home with Echo and Ring devices. According to Amazon, sales of Alexa-enabled devices have topped 500 million and use of its voice assistant increased 35 percent last year. To help keep the momentum going, the company announced four new Echo devices: the next-generation Echo Show 5 with an improved speaker system, a redesigned Echo Show 5 Kids, all-new Echo Buds, and a new speaker called the Echo Pop.
Below, we’ve rounded up all the details on the latest additions to the Echo lineup. All of the new devices are available for pre-order through Amazon. The Echo Show and Echo Pop will start shipping on May 31, and the Echo Buds will ship on June 7.
The round, baseball-sized Echo Dot is one of the cutest smart home speakers around. But the new Echo Pop is even cuter, and it is more affordable. It’s also slightly smaller than the Dot, making it a great choice for surfaces where space is at a premium, like shelves, window frames, and nightstands. And it comes in fun color options like Lavender Bloom and Midnight Tea, plus Charcoal and Glacier White.
Up front is a custom-designed directional speaker to deliver full sound, while under the hood is an Amazon AZ2 Neural Edge processor for AI-based voice models. It comes with Eero built in; if you have an Eero Wi-Fi network, you can use the Echo Pop to add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage.
And, just like with other Echo devices, you can use Alexa to control your smart home, read audiobooks, and ask questions. It comes with support for the Matter standard, which means you can pair it with smart home devices made by companies other than Amazon. The Echo Pop is $40.
New Echo Buds
If you’re in love with Alexa, Amazon’s Echo Buds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are one of the best ways to keep it with you at all times. And the new Echo Buds are now half the price of the previous model. The new headphones don’t come with high-end features like noise cancellation, but you’ll get a variety of other valuable capabilities, including customizable touch controls and multipoint pairing (allowing you to pair and switch between two devices at the same time) and yes, access hands-free to your favorite voice assistant.