Amazon surprise hardware event at 1:30 pm ET: Live updates

|About: Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)|By:, SA News Editor

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will have a surprise hardware event today at 1:30 pm ET and will likely unveil its new Alexa devices that might include a new Echo and new Fire TV.

Check back when the event starts for live updates.

Update:  Amazon debuts a second-gen Echo for $99, or a three-pack for $250, that has a smaller physical size and an increased focus on sound quality.

The new Echo includes Dolby Audio and a dedicated bass tweeter to help the device compete with the higher-end, audio-focused speakers from Sonos and the forthcoming Apple HomePod.

The new Echo goes on sale today.

Amazon also introduces a $35 Connect device for making phone calls using an existing phone number.

Calls from the US to other parts of North America will be free.

The Connect starts pre-orders today and will launch in Q4 in the US and early 2018 in the UK and Germany.

Update:  Echo owners wanting to play multiplayer games on the device might want to pick up the Echo Button, a tiny remote that acts like a buzzer during a game. Hasbro is working on a Trivial Pursuit game for the Echo that will integrate the Button.

The Echo Button will go on sale in Q4 and cost $19.99 for a pack of two.

Update: The Echo Plus offers the same higher-end audio features of the other Echo announced today but also has a built-in hub to coordinate with smart home products from over 100 different partners.

The Echo Plus has a similar physical size as the previous gen Echo but the two new devices announced today both feature swappable cloth covers, similar to what Google Home offers, for a more customized appearance.

The Echo Plus sells for $149 and comes with a Philips Hue light bulb to get that smart home started.

Update: Amazon announces a Fire TV with HD and 4K capabilities to take on the new Apple TV 4K.

The Fire TV includes Dolby Atmos integration, can display 2160p video at 60fps, and obviously comes with Alexa.

Why list Dolby Atmos surround sound first in the above bullet? The Apple 4K TV didn’t ship with Atmos support. Apple told The Verge that the issue wasn’t a hardware limitation and suggested support would come at some point.

The Fire TV is available for pre-order today and ships in Q4. The TV alone costs $69 or can bundle with an Echo Dot for $80.

Update:  The Echo Spot combines the Dot and Show to create a $130 smart alarm clock with a two-inch screen.

The Spot, which could also have applications as a baby monitor or part of a smart security system, is available for pre-orders today and ships in December.

Update:  Amazon announces that Alexa integration, via embedded far-field microphones, will arrive in BMWs and some Mini vehicles starting in the middle of next year.

The integration puts Amazon up against Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.

Correction: The Echo Spot has a 2.5-in screen, not two-inch.

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