Amazon said to release eight new Alexa devices before year’s end


Amazon AMZN is doubling down on its Alexa-powered devices, with plans to release at least 8 new voice-controlled hardware devices before the end of the year, CNBC has learned.

The upcoming product roster includes home entertainment gear like an amplifier, a receiver, and a subwoofer.

Amazon is tipped to reveal a few of these gadgets at an event later this month. These inclusions are the most likely, with Amazon looking to compete against Sonos' wireless speaker line-up (who already have a wireless amplifier for connecting wired speakers) and the Siri-enabled Apple HomePod.

Having its own home appliances also opens up a new sales channel for Amazon.

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The Amazon Echo Dot is an entry-level speaker, packing Alexa's core functionality into a low-priced, lightweight body. While all devices will have the ability to be connected with Alexa, only some will have Alexa built in.

Earlier this year, Amazon acquired the smart doorbell maker Ring, which also makes devices that are compatible with Alexa. Named E-tron SUV, the vehicle needs to be linked to your Amazon account after which you will be able to give voice commands to play music, get weather information, to-do list and nearly everything that you can do with an Echo speaker. Though Alexa already enjoys a very popular presence on the market, it faces growing competition from Google via its Google Assistant and Home products.

Amazon Echo relies on Microsoft's Bing search engine and Wikipedia, while Google Home uses the company's own Google Search. Higher-end models provide further flexibility to explore Amazon's offerings beyond Xbox, but as always, these come at a premium. "We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are", CEO Jeff Bezos said in July. In the latter department, these Alexa-enabled smart appliances have always been produced in collaboration with other brands, however, that's about to change. With eight new Alexa-enabled devices, the company is working along that goal.