KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 21): The Umno-controlled media group Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd is offering a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to more than half of its 1,500 workers as part of its restructuring exercise to reduce overall costs due to the company's financial constraints, according to sources.
theedgemarkets.com has learned that the decision came following a closed-door briefing held between the group's executive chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir and its staff this morning at its headquarters in Jalan Utusan, Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin, here.
Blizzard Entertainment promised earlier this year it would rework Torbjörn, Overwatch‘s Swiss mechanic that specializes in building turrets. Torbjörn began to fall off in popularity as his defense-focused playstyle couldn’t keep up with the high amounts of damage and speed of other characters. Now we know what those character changes will look like, and they’ll be available […]
Yesterday, Amazon launched an entire household-worth of new Alexa-powered devices–yes, in addition to its existing lineup of Echo products. There were microwaves. Cameras. Subwoofers. And that was just the beginning.
Each of these new products is designed to make your life extremely convenient–so convenient, in fact, it would seemingly be foolish not to equip every room in your home with Alexa-powered technology. Thanks to Amazon’s AI and network infrastructure, Alexa will constantly study and ultimately predict your most intimate preferences at home. Who wouldn’t want that?
The running list of new hardware includes the expected (speakers) but also surprises (a wall clock?) that show where the company envisions its e-commerce empire heading in the coming years–namely, every room in your house.
Where You Cook
[Photo: Amazon]AmazonBasics Microwave, $59.99: Amazon announced an Alexa-powered microwave that warns you when popcorn is burning. It’s like having an R2-D2, but he’s square, doesn’t move, doesn’t make cute noises, can’t fix stuff, or fly through space.
[Photo: Amazon]Echo Wall Clock, $29.99: I personally don’t get what this one is about. I guess I should have one in my kitchen to make my life more precise and efficient so I can spend more time browsing Amazon Prime.
Where you relax
[Photo: Amazon]Redesigned Echo Show, $229.99: The company also debuted a completely redesigned Echo Show, doubling the size of its display and adding better audio tech. The most important thing, though, is its new eight-microphone array that Amazon describes as “[its] most powerful mics ever.” It also has a camera, so it’s on you to decide where to put this one.
Redesigned Echo Plus, $149.99: This redesigned device that not only listens to you more closely, but acts as an Alexa device network hub to control all your Alexa-compatible thingamajigs. It also has a temperature sensor that controls your heating and AC system.
Echo Sub, $129.99: In addition to redesigned Echo devices, Amazon launched a slew of audio products–like this new subwoofer, which pairs with your Echo Dot and Echo Plus to make a stereo 2.1 or mono 1.1 sound system–and the Echo Link, $199.99, which turns your stereo into an Alexa-enabled device.
[Photo: Amazon]The Echo Link Amp, $299.99 does the same, but with a “built-in 60W 2-channel amplifier, multiple digital and analog inputs, and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment.” In other words, just another way to put Alexa somewhere else in the house.
Fire TV Recast, $229.99: If you’re still watching cable, this clever device will record live TV—up to two or four shows at once.
Where you drive
[Photo: Amazon]Echo Auto, $49.99: Let’s not forget that Amazon also wants to make our lives on the road easier, too. With an eight-mic array designed specifically for cars, it won’t miss a word.
In Your Yard
Ring Stick Up Cam, $179.99: Amazon acquired the connected doorbell company Ring for $1.1 billion in February. Get a pack of its redesigned security cameras and let your paranoia run rampant.
Alexa Guard: Likewise, Alexa Guard listens to things that happen in your house and sends you clips of any weird noises.
Anywhere and Everywhere
[Photo: Amazon]Redesigned Echo Dot, $49.99: Millions of people already own Echo Dots–15 million as of December 2017–but this week, Amazon touted the benefits of its redesigned version, which can play music 70% louder, thanks to a new 1.6-inch driver, and analyze your idle musings much more thoroughly, thanks to a new microphone array.
[Photo: Amazon]Echo Input, $34.99: Perhaps the best device of them all. No need for a speaker. It’s just a four-microphone array that you can connect to a sound system. Or not. It just carefully listens to you.
[Photo: Amazon]Amazon Smart Plug, $24.99: Amazon Smart Plug connects to your Alexa home network via Wi-FI, plugging every last electrical appliance in your house into Amazon’s network.
The only thing that I know for sure is that each and every device will help Amazon learn about you and the complex inner-workings of your home life. It’s enough to make you wonder when Amazon, which already has its own furniture line, will just cut to the chase and start building homes. What could go wrong?