#Online Retail giant #Amazon held a surprise hardware #Event in Seattle on Wednesday. The company announced a number of new devices including the refreshed older Echo models and brand-new members to the Echo family. In addition, a new Fire TV was introduced to showcase the latest video standards. Amazon's smart voice-activated assistant Alexa was also integrated into an automobile line.

According to Business Insider, there was a 1.34 percent increase in the company's stock price following the launch event. Before the event, shares were up by 0.9 percent. A portion of this gain can be attributed to the recent announcement of new products.

This quick roundup presents five of the biggest takeaways from the launch event.

A new and cheaper Echo

The all-new Amazon Echo is way smaller than the previous model but packs an improved sound quality. Alexa's voice recognition is also better and more reliable thanks to a faster processor. Other side perks to the device include a variety of casings and an auxiliary jack for speakers. There are six high-quality swap choices the user can choose from including a wood veneer and a full fabric covering. The new Amazon Echo is priced at $99, which is considerably cheaper than the previous model at $199.

Echo Plus

Dubbed as the new, higher-end smart speaker, Amazon's Echo Plus offers a much better sound quality for a price of $149. In addition, it also features a hub for home-automation products. This will facilitate easier connection to home gadgets such as smart light bulbs and automated door locks.

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Unlike the previous Echo devices, there is no app or skill requirement. The new home automation feature is compatible with many existing smart-home gadgets. In fact, the company is planning to ship the Echo Plus with a Hue smart light bulb from Philips.

Echo Connect

The ability to make phone calls to any number was first introduced in Google's Home speaker. Now, Amazon wants to upgrade the playing field with the Echo Connect. The $35 box has plugs for a standard phone jack and an Echo device. The device also has telephone capability such as receiving phone calls using a standard phone number and standard phone service. It is also compatible with all Echo devices.

Echo Buttons

The new Echo buttons are glowing single-button game controllers that can be used as buzzers or lights. The buttons come in pair packs and sell for $20. Given its compatibility with Amazon Echo line of smart speakers, the buttons are intended to bring back family board game nights and bonding. These game controllers are scheduled for release by the holiday season.

BMW integration

The company announced that its voice assistant Alexa will be integrated into BMWs and selected Mini vehicles next year. Apart from microphones being embedded into the car, the visual content of Alexa will also be displayed on the vehicle's head unit. In addition, capabilities for a complete and comprehensive set of internet connections are also available. Clearly this merger between the tech giant software and traditional automobile positions Alexa as a competitor to other players such as Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay.