Another one of Amazon's Echo devices is also launching today, the Echo Plus. This effectively becomes Amazon's most expensive Echo Speaker (the Echo Show is more expensive, mainly for the display that's built-in). But what sets the Amazon Echo Plus apart from the regular Echo is the part that it's a bit taller but also has a built-in hub. This hub is going to make it easier to setup your smart home, as the Echo Plus can work as a hub instead of buying one for something like Zwave or SmartThings. It's all-in-one, basically.
Aside from having a built-in hub, the Echo Plus does also have Alexa built-in with thousands of skills available. The Echo Plus is great for setting alarms, timers, setting reminders and much more. With some of the added skills which you can add to your account, you can get the daily news headlines read to you, as well as order food from places like Domino's, Pizza Hut, GrubHub and a few other places. Another nifty Alexa skill is the ability to start your car with the Ford SYNC3 skill that is available (only for select cars). Of course, there are plenty of skills for smart home products like Wemo's smart plugs, or the TP-Link Kasa camera, allowing you to have Alexa turn things on or off. Alexa does also work with other products like Nest, SmartThings and many more.
Amazon is selling the Echo Plus in three colors - black, white and silver. It looks to be the actual successor to the original Echo, and still has a price drop, coming in at just $149. While the Echo has a deal to get three Echo's and get $50 off, Amazon has a slightly different deal going on with the Echo Plus. Getting you a set of Philips' Hue light bulbs with the Echo Plus, essentially for free, as the bundle is also $149. This is a great way to get started with your smart home, since Hue light bulbs are fairly popular and a great choice. They do need a hub, but with the Echo Plus, it becomes the hub, so you won't need to buy the Philips Bridge.