In short: Amazon has announced a number of new additions to its Echo line designed to represent more of a complete and advanced home audio setup. For example, the company has now announced the Echo Link, the Echo Link Amp, and an Echo Sub. None of these products actually feature the company's Alexa voice assistant but are designed to connect to an Alexa-equipped device for greater control. Amazon has confirmed the Link and Link Amp will become available to buy in the coming months, while the Echo Sub is available to pre-order starting today.
Background: The Echo line of speakers have in the past been primarily designed to highlight the benefits of Alexa and as a result have suffered in some respects, and most notable in the sound quality department. Amazon is clearly looking to change this however with the arrival of these three new solutions which will pad out the Echo home audio experience. The Echo Link is basically an Echo-branded input/output device which lets users add receivers and/or amplifiers to the unit. As is typically the case with a product link this, the Echo Link boasts multiple inputs, both digital and analog to account for different devices. To add to this, the new Echo Link Amp is an amp which can connect to the Echo Link although it's not necessary to buy the Link to make use of the Link Amp. The amp itself is a 60-watt 2-channel amplifier and once again features a number of inputs and outputs for connecting additional devices. Both the Link and Link Amp can connect to an Alexa-enabled device, as well as the actual Alexa app for added control. Completing the trio of new audio arrivals is the Echo Sub and this will likely need little explaining as the sub is designed to add more bass to a system that needs it, and is primarily designed to work alongside an Echo or Echo Plus smart speaker.
Impact: With these new arrivals Amazon is making it clear that the company sees great value in the home audio market. What is of interest is none of these speakers actually feature Alexa but instead work with other Alexa devices. This marks somewhat of a change in methodology from the company which typically likes to pack in Alexa wherever it can. Whether this change in approach will result in people also buying an Alexa-enabled product or not, remains to be seen, although it does certainly add to the options for current Alexa device owners to significantly increase the audio quality associated with their existing Echo speakers.