Everything Amazon showed off at its latest hardware event
From smart thermostats to home robots, Amazon announced a ton of stuff this week.
The fall is always busy for product announcements, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down as we go into the last few days of September.
Amazon had its annual hardware event yesterday, showing off the best of Alexa, new Ring devices and services, a cute home robot, and some new fitness tracking gear.
There are also new ways to stay in touch, to control your thermostat, and a whole bunch more. Let’s dive in.
With video calls still being the safest way to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa, Amazon’s newest device uses a mix of AR and physical toys to let everyone play together. Glow projects a virtual gameboard onto the surface you put it on, so kiddo can interact with it, which is mirrored on the device that is being used on the other end of the call. It’s invitation-only right now, so go sign up if that’s something that your family would use.
Echo Show 15
Amazon’s largest Echo display to date, the Echo Show 15 aims to be the smart home smart hub for all of your family. The 15.6-inch smart display has a 5MP camera for video calls and for enabling personalized content when it recognizes a family member. Amazon wants it to be like a digital pinboard so that you can organize the family, and it’s probably going to do a decent job of that. Shame about the uncovered, ugly power cable though.
Amazon’s long-rumored robotic home companion is here, the $999 Astro. Yes, that’s an Astro-nomical price, but that’s to be expected from any home robot at this stage. Think of it as a mobile Echo display that can hold your drinks because the more cup holders, the better the thing is, right (source: every SUV in existence)?
It’s also got a telescopic camera to see things that aren’t at floor level, so the chances of it recording your bedroom activities are non-zero. It’s a real shame Amazon didn’t put a vacuum on this thing so that it would actually be useful.
Amazon smart thermostat
Alexa might already be able to control other company’s smart thermostats, but this is the first time Amazon has made one of its own. The $60 device is stylish, cheaper than the competition, and can learn your habits so your home stays at the optimal temperature for your tastes. Oh, and it was created in partnership with Honeywell, so it should work with the majority of 24V HVAC systems.
Amazon’s current fitness tracker doesn’t have a screen, but with the $79.99 Halo View, it’s coming for the competition. It’s cheaper than the previous tracker, has an AMOLED screen, tracks heart rate, blood oxygen, and skin temperature, and doesn’t have the slightly creepy ‘tone of voice’ microphone from the previous generation.
Oh, and it comes with a year of a Halo membership ($3.99 a month afterward), which has more advanced biometrics like sleep analysis, Amazon’s body composition scanning, and more, as well as Halo Fitness, Amazon’s new fitness classes, and Halo Nutrition, with healthy recipes.
Alexa is getting Disney-ified
Amazon is lending Alexa to Disney for a new “Hey Disney” customized voice assistant for use in Walt Disney’s resorts. It’ll be mainly for park-related customer service inquiries, like what time the park is open or where different food options are available at. It won’t just be available in-park though, providing jokes, fun facts, and over 1,000 “magical interactions” from Disney characters right on your Alexa devices. Oh, and there’s a Mickey Mouse-styled stand for the Echo Show 5 now, which you can get for $24.99.
Ring Always Home Cam
Ring now has a drone-based security camera that can patrol around your home while you’re not there. The Ring Always Home Cam costs $249.99, and you can request an invite to buy one if that’s the kind of thing you want zooming around inside your house when you’re not there. It only records video while in flight, and it can’t record at all while charging as the camera module is covered by the charging dock.
With a five-minute flight time, it won’t constantly be patrolling. Instead, Ring envisions it zipping across to disturbances triggered by a Ring Alarm system, or if you want to check that you closed all the doors or turned off the stove.
Ring Alarm Pro and a bunch of new Ring services
The new $249.99 Ring Alarm Pro puts a Ring Alarm hub inside an Eero WiFi 6 router, so you don’t need as many white boxes plugged in near your home’s network jack. It also does a ton of other things, like act as a smart home hub for third-party smoke alarms, locks, thermostats, and more, and can connect directly to Ring cameras to process and store videos locally.
Ring is also introducing a Virtual Security Guard subscription that lets a third-party company watch over your system for motion events, Ring Video Doorbells finally can tell you if you’ve had a package delivered, and Ring Jobsite Security is a self-contained kit for construction site monitoring.
Even more things
Amazon also unveiled three new Blink home security products, including a video doorbell, a floodlight camera mount, and a solar panel mount. Sling TV is coming to Echo Show devices, starting in the US. Alexa will be able to learn custom sound detection based on whatever you want to teach her.
New content is also coming to the Kids Plus subscription service, including shows like Blippi’s Treehouse, Do Re & Me, and Lego Monkie Kid.
And lastly, Alexa Together is a new service to help you take care of elderly family members at a distance. This will be $19.99 a month, replaces the Alexa Care Hub in 2022, and has a six-month free trial. Oh, and if you’re a current Care Hub subscriber you’ll get a year free.
Whew, that’s a ton of new Amazon stuff, even if some of us have to wait to get our hands on it.
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