(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has announced a new version of the Amazon Echo and it has taken the devices in a totally new direction, moving on from the cylindrical shape into a sphere.

It's not the first time that there's been a spherical Echo - the Echo Spot was like a ball with a display - but that's now the shape for the next-gen Echo devices.

It's a smarter device too, powered by the AZ1 Neural Edge silicon, it's now a lot more power efficient, consuming up to 20 per cent less, while also being faster to process commands - with Alexa saying it is 2x faster at speech processing.

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The new Echo adopts the skills of the previous Echo Plus, so it will be a Zigbee hub for better smart home control, as well as a Sidewalk bridge.

The music performance is said to be better, offering adaptive sound that will adjust to suit the room that you've placed them in. But that's not all, because the new Echo also has an additional tweeter inside, so it should be more adept at delivering that audio, with Amazon saying that it has Dolby processing.

Amazon

On top of the physical changes, Alexa is getting a lot smarter, offering more natural language for a more direction conversational approach, with the ability to setup more personal profiles.

The new Amazon Echo will cost $99.99, and the Echo Dot is also getting a refresh in the new design - both the Echo Dot and the Echo Dot with Clock, costing $49.99 and $59.99 respectively. Pre-orders will be opening from 24 September and shipping later in the year.

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Writing by Chris Hall.