Echo Hub promises smart home control for over 10,000 devices

Amazon Echo Hub announcement

Among a range of announcements overnight, including upgraded Fire TV Stick 4K streaming devices, and the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro, Amazon revealed the Echo Hub, a $329 wall-mountable smart home control panel designed to manage all of your devices.

Taking the form of an eight-inch touch display, the Echo Hub includes Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant while supporting Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter connectivity. In other words, it’s not just for controlling your Amazon devices, it should also play nicely with tech from other brands.

Its dashboard is fully customisable to help you manage devices, widgets, and access media controls. There are also home security benefits, too. With the Echo Hub, you can connect to security cameras and view multiple feeds at the same time.

Adding to Amazon’s extensive range of smart devices, the Echo Hub looks a little bit like the Echo Show smart display. One of the main differences here is that the Show doubles as a Fire TV streaming device, while the Hub pares it back slightly to focus primarily on smart home management.

What does the Amazon Echo Hub do?

Privacy-conscious users may be drawn to the Echo Hub more than some of Amazon’s other smart displays. This is because there’s no included camera. Instead, it uses infrared tech to wake up when you approach it, meaning you’re one screen tap away from turning on a light or accessing a camera feed. It does include a microphone for voice activation, but you can switch this off at any time.

Billed as a solution to the fragmented smart home ecosystem, Amazon claims that the Hub is compatible with over 10,000 smart devices. This includes cameras, lights, thermostats, speakers and other home tech that uses the same wireless protocols. You can even connect the Hub via Ethernet if you have patchy Wi-Fi.

Although you can use your phone and various apps to manage smart home devices, there’s not much in the way of a standalone controller currently available. That’s where Amazon hopes the Echo Hub will slot in, as a device that functions as naturally as a light switch, untethered to your phone. Not only is it wall-mountable to literally take the place of the humble light switch, but you can use a compatible stand to prop it up on a counter. Also, when you’re not using the Hub, it can function as a digital photo frame or show live information like the weather.

Introducing Echo Hub | 8” smart home control panel with Alexa | Compatible with thousands of devices
  • INTRODUCING ECHO HUB — An easy-to-use Alexa-enabled control panel for your smart home devices—just ask Alexa or tap the display to control lights, smart plugs, camera feeds, and more.
  • STREAMLINE YOUR SMART HOME — Customise the controls and widgets, displayed on your dashboard to quickly adjust devices, view cameras, start routines, and more.
  • WORKS WITH THOUSANDS OF DEVICES — Compatible with thousands of connected locks, thermostats, speakers, and more. WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Matter, and Thread devices sync seamlessly with the built-in smart home hub.

On paper, it looks like a more comprehensive smart hub than something like a Google Nest, which you may only need if your home houses multiple smart devices from different brands.

As part of its recent announcements, Amazon also detailed updates coming to its Echo Show range. One is Adaptive Content for the Echo Show 8, a cool idea that changes what it shows on-screen based on how far away you are. From a distance, you’ll see a large clockface, for example, which will change to show more details as you approach nearer. Meanwhile, the Echo Show 15 now gets a Top Connections widget, showing your most-used devices and favourite contacts at a glance for quick access. Amazon mentioned that the Echo Show 5, 8, and 10 will also get the Top Connections Widget in the coming months.

As for the Echo Hub, we’re waiting on an official launch date, but its listing is currently live on Amazon.

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