Amazon's Echo Plus packs in a smart home hub

From the looks of it, the focus is on simple setup and installation.

Nicole Lee, Engadget

Turns out that Amazon had more than one new Echo to show off today. The Echo Plus serves as an easy-to-setup smart home hub to take on Google's Home speaker and Apple's AirPod. Out of the box, smart bulbs will automatically go into discovery mode while you install them. Alexa will automatically name the devices, too, so the first one you set up will be called "first light." That won't be confusing for PlayStation fans at all. You won't have to install any apps or skills on the device, either, and there are already over 100 devices available for the Plus including lights, bulbs and locks.

Each Plus ships with a Philips Hue smart bulb, as well, so you'll be able to see what the gizmo is capable of without needing to buy any additional gear. How much is that smart-home hub in the window? Less than the original Echo: $150, £140 and €150. The Echo Plus is available to pre-order starting today.