In short: Amazon launched a slew of Echo devices today, including a redesigned Echo Plus. It not fits into the new design language that Amazon has started using on its Echo devices, with it being wrapped in fabric. This makes the Echo speaker look pretty nice, but also allows it still output some great sound. According to Amazon, the new Echo Plus also has improved sound, with stronger bass and the sound overall is much clearer. That is actually a bit surprising, considering the audio from the Echo Plus was already pretty good thanks to Dolby tuning it. There is also an equalizer feature here, so you can adjust the sound on the Echo Plus to your liking. As is the case with the original Echo Plus, it does still include a smart home hub, so you won't need to buy a separate one.
Background: Amazon announced the Echo Plus last year, which looked exactly like the original Echo smart speaker, but it did have that smart home hub built-in. That was by far one of Amazon's most popular features, especially since it was being bundled with Z-Wave and Philips Hue products that worked with the smart home hub inside the Echo Plus. This made it a great purchase for those that are looking to get started with making their home a smart home, as it can be a bit of a struggle to figure out which hub to get started with, the Echo Plus solved that issue.
Impact: The Amazon Echo Plus is also going to be available beginning next month, and it's keeping the same price of $149. That makes this the most expensive smart speaker from Amazon, but with good reason. It does have that smart speaker built-in, so it makes sense that it is a bit more expensive.