U.S. Markets closed

Amazon announces a high-end $99 Echo to compete with Apple's HomePod

Brian Heater

Today’s the big day at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. The company promised a day of big announcements, kicking things off with the announcement of a high-end Echo, a long-awaited replacement for the first generation device. The product is a higher end version of the original home assistant, designed to compete with Apple’s HomePod, but at the much more stomachable price of $99.

The new assistant is available starting today, bringing with it a more premium sound, including a dedicated woofer and tweeter, along with Dolby sound. The device also features the second generation of Amazon's far-field technology, the microphone array the company uses so Echo can play nicely with other devices.

  1. amazon-event-9270043

  2. amazon-event-9270038

  3. amazon-event-9270042

  4. amazon-event-9270044

  5. amazon-event-9270045

  6. amazon-event-9270008

  7. amazon-event-9270004

  8. amazon-event-9270010

  9. amazon-event-9270011

 View SlideshowExit

As initially rumored, the product features a higher-end cloth covering, though what's unexpected, is that the product also features six different shells, so the Echo can be coordinated for various rooms in the home.

The long-awaited update is clearly part of Amazon's attempt to compete with higher-end home devices and make the product more than just another plasticky gadget. Though the far lower price point (which also includes a three pack for $50 off) is far more in line with Amazon's long-standing position of undercutting the rest of the of the industry.

Amazon's never had much interest in making a killing from hardware -- instead, the goal of Echo has always been getting Alexa in the home, and the brand new Echo is no different.