There are loads of smart speaker options, as well as smart artificial intelligence (AI) assistants. Now, UE graces its line of speakers with Alexa integration. The UE Blast and Megablast gain Alexa functionality in a major update. Because of this, the Megablast and Blast offer an affordable, stylish means of accessing the always-on Amazon smart assistant. [Read: Which Amazon Echo should I buy: Amazon Echo vs Dot vs Plus vs Spot vs Show]
UE Blast and Megablast gain Alexa
As Engadget reports, UE unveiled new iterations of its Megablast and Blast speakers. These are in fact completely revamped versions of the Boom and Megaboom, replete with Alexa and network capabilities. Rather than debut a firmware update or new smart home speakers, it's an utterly new speaker in each line. [Read: "Works with Sonos" to open up the company's speakers to third-party apps]
Additionally, UE included Power Up charging base compatibility. Unlike the Amazon Tap's original concept, the UE Blast and Mega Blast come immediately with hands-free Alexa. While its original launch required a tap to use Alexa, the Tap later received an update for hands-free Alexa operation. [Read: Updates to Google Home app: Assign Google Home to different rooms]
The UE Boom and Megaboom will continue to be available. However, while the Blast and Megablast are similar, there are a few key differences. Notably, both devices are a bit larger than the Boom 2 and Megaboom. Plus, wheras the Boom line is Bluetooth-only, the Blast speakers also rock Wi-Fi. As such, the speakers can work in conjunction with other UE Blasts, but only via Wi-Fi. This differs from the Boom tandem operation using Bluetooth. Additionally, the 3.5mm jack, as on the iPhone, is no longer.
You'll find 93db max speaker output on the Megablast, up 40 percent over the Megaboom.
More smart speakers hitting the market
As AI assistants become more popular, and smart speakers continue to thrive, expect see an increasing number of such devices hitting the market. UE's foray into the smart speaker space proves that this is set to continue. However, it's unlikely that you'll see many new smart assistants debut. Instead, watch for integration with existing options such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Siri.
Which smart speakers do you recommend? Will you adopt the UE Megablast and Blast with Alexa onboard?