Connecting all your smart home devices just got easier for Amazon Echo users, as the company is rolling out a new feature for the Alexa app. According to Engadget, when ‘Device Discovery’ is enabled on your Alexa app you’ll see compatible smart home devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi – like smart lights, other smart speakers, and even the new Xbox Series X – on the home screen, and you can add a device to your Alexa ecosystem with just a few taps.
This process isn’t exactly complicated, to begin with, but displaying compatible devices on the app home screen could encourage users to hook up more devices that they perhaps hadn’t previously considered using with Alexa.
Engadget says Device Discovery is currently being rolled out in the US, and that “it should be available for all users there in the coming weeks”. There’s no word on a global rollout yet, but we’d be surprised if the feature didn’t appear in other regions before the end of the year.
Amazon recently overhauled its Echo range of smart speakers, launching the new Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Show 10 – all of which sport stylish new designs and improved voice assistant performance.
The 2020 Echo in particular is well suited to controlling your smart home, coming with a built-in Zigbee smart home hub and a new AZ1 neural edge processor that will reduce the time it takes for Alexa to respond to commands.
In spite of the new upgrades, the new Echo speakers aren’t pricier than their predecessors and even saw some modest discounts over Amazon Prime Day in October.
However, with Black Friday coming up on November 27 we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for deals on the older Echo speakers, which are likely to be heavily discounted. Early Black Friday deals have already started to roll in, so it’s well worth bookmarking our guide to Amazon Black Friday deals in the run-up to the huge sales event.
Moreover, Amazon Alexa is introducing a new feature called Care Hub, designed to make help people care for aging family members. The company said it has been hearing from customers for years about using Alexa’s voice assistant to monitor aging relatives, who are increasingly looking to stay in their residences rather than move to a nursing home. The shift has created a more than $30 billion market for assistive technology, according to the Consumer Technology Association.