Amazon Event Showcases New Echo Speakers, Drone Security Camera
During its annual hardware event, Amazon announced a new line of spherical Echo smart speakers, a new drone security camera, improved Fire TV streaming sticks, and more. While some of these new devices are available for preorders now, Amazon also announced several new devices and features that won’t be shipped until just before the holidays. Here’s everything you need to know about the new devices and features Amazon announced, and how you can preorder them now.
New Echo Devices (4th-Generation)
Amazon spent most of the event talking about a new line of completely redesigned Echo devices. The next-generation Echo smart speakers will now be spherical and covered in fabric. They will still feature the familiar volume and action buttons at the top. However, the ring light in the 4th-generation Echo and Echo Dot is now on the bottom of the device, which means it will reflect off any surface they are sitting on.
But the new Echo speakers don’t just look different, they also come with more advanced hardware that makes them twice as fast as previous models. Amazon claims the new AZ1 processors in the latest Echo devices will shave off “hundreds of milliseconds from Alexa’s response time.”
With the advanced processors, Alexa can now learn by asking questions. For example, if you tell Alexa to set your smart thermostat to “vacation mode,” she will now ask you, “what do you mean by vacation mode?” Then you can say “60 degrees,” and she will remember that command, so you don’t have to set up a routine in the Alexa app.
Alexa will also understand back-to-back requests, even if you don’t use the “wake word.” You can even say, “Alexa, join our conversation,” and she will use acoustic, linguistic, and visual cues to determine when someone is talking to her, and how she should answer.
You can preorder all models of the 4th-generation Echo smart speakers now. They will be released on October 22, except for the spherical version of the Echo Dot with clock, which won’t be released until November 5. All three models are available in Glacier White and Twilight Blue, while the Echo and Echo Dot will also be available in Charcoal.
Amazon also released a new line of Echo Dot Kids Edition with friendly tiger and panda designs. These kid-friendly smart speakers will recognize when they are interacting with a child, and Alexa will tailor her responses to them.
The new Echo Dot Kids Edition will be available starting October 22, with a starting price of $59.99.
If your WiFi has been lacking, you’re going to love Amazon’s new line of eero mesh WiFi systems. During the event, Amazon announced eero 6 and eero pro 6 will both feature WiFi 6 technology, which allows you to connect more than 75 devices at once. This way, you won’t have to worry about how many smart home devices you add to your network.
The new eero 6 series will also have a Zigbee smart home hub built-in, and they will be backward compatible, so you can expand your system without making any changes. The back of the devices will also feature two auto-sensing gigabit Ethernet ports, which will instantly boost your WiFi signal.
The eero 6 nodes offer dual-band WiFi and will offer 1,500 square feet of WiFi coverage, while the eero 6 Pro nodes are tri-band and will offer 2,000 square feet of coverage.
Both eero 6 series models are available for preorders now, but they will not be released until November 2.
During the event, Amazon also announced two new Fire TV streaming sticks. The company introduced an upgraded Fire TV Stick that now supports Dolby Atmos, as well as a cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite, which Amazon claims has the “most processing power of any streaming media player under $30.”
The only real difference between the two new devices is that the new Fire TV Lite doesn’t have volume control buttons on the remote. Other than that, both streaming sticks let you stream the same content in HD.
In addition to the new devices, Amazon also upgraded the Fire TV interface. Now, you can create profiles for every member of the family, and each profile will have a navigation bar with that user’s favorite apps. You can also use picture-in-picture mode and video chat using your Fire TV.
You can preorder both devices now, and they will each be released on September 30.
For the first time, Amazon has jumped into the gaming world with a new cloud-based streaming service called Luna+. All you need is the Luna controller, and you can play games on your TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone.
However, unlike Google Stadia and other cloud-based gaming services, the Luna controller connects directly to the cloud. That means you won’t have to pair your controller every time you switch devices. Also, since the signal doesn’t have to travel to your device before it goes to the cloud and back again, Amazon claims it was able to remove 20 milliseconds of latency.
“It’s actually faster playing Luna on Fire TV Stick than connecting to a Bluetooth controller,” Gabi Knight, the director of Amazon Luna said during the event. “Twenty milliseconds is a lot. That’s the difference between winning or losing in a game. It’s the type of thing that you can actually feel”
Amazon says that there will be over 100 games you can play in early access, and hundreds more games are coming soon. The tech giant even partnered with Ubisoft to offer Luna+ customers access to games like Assassin’s Cred Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and more. And, since the games are in the cloud, you will be able to play any of them the day they are released, without downloading endless patches and updates.
Luna+ will cost $5.99, and you can request a subscription for early access now. The Luna Controller will cost $49.99, and it is also available for early access now.
Amazon also introduced the Echo Show 10 during the event, which the company says was “reimagined from the ground up.” This new smart speaker features new Intelligent Motion technology that follows you around the room. The camera will always keep you centered in the frame, so you can move around freely while making video calls.
The tech giant designed claims the Echo Show 10 is so quiet that “you can’t hear the motor through human ears.” It also has added Zoom capability and features group calling, so you can easily video chat with several people at once.
This new smart speaker will also feature a 13 MP camera and a 2.1 audio system with adaptive sound. Plus, you can now watch Netflix on the brighter 10-inch screen. And, when you want more privacy, you can flip a switch to block the camera at any time.
Amazon claims that it is focused on improving privacy features for its new Alexa devices. For example, all new Alexa devices will soon allow you to review your privacy settings and delete everything you ever said with simple voice commands.
In addition, all new Echo speakers will include a Zigbee hub and Bluetooth low energy support, so you won’t have to worry if your smart home devices are compatible with Alexa.
The Echo Show 10 will be available for $249.99, and it will come in Charcoal and Glacier White. Amazon has not set a release date for its newest smart speaker with a screen, but the company says that the devices will ship “in time for the holidays.”
Ring Always Home Cam
One of the most interesting new devices Amazon announced during its hardware event was the Ring Always Home Cam. This new device is a small, lightweight drone that will automatically fly to predetermined areas of your home, so you can get multiple viewpoints without setting up cameras in every room.
This new indoor security camera will fly on preset paths, and it can also integrate with Ring Alarm security systems. So when motion is detected in your home, the Ring Always Home Camera will automatically fly to see what’s happening. Then you can stream video from the drone on your smartphone and other devices.
If you are concerned about privacy, the Ring Always Home Cam will only record when it is in motion. When it is docked, the camera will physically be blocked, so it can’t record anything.
The Ring Always Home security camera will cost $249.99, and it is expected to ship next year.
New Car Security
Ring also introduced three new security systems for your car, including the Car Alarm, Car Cam, and Car Connect. Amazon claims that these new devices will “redefine car security by bringing to the car the same easy-to-install, affordable, and integrated products that Ring customers find so delightful.”
The Car Alarm plugs into your car’s OBD port, and Amazon claims that it will work with 99% of cars on the road. This little device will monitor for impacts, break-ins, and tows, and it will send you a notification when it detects anything.
The Ring Car Cam will also monitor your car, but it also includes a camera that you can stream from your smartphone or other devices. With the new Traffic Stop feature, you can record your interactions with the police by saying, “Alexa, I’m being pulled over.”
Your video will then be uploaded to the cloud, and you can send a notification to any family members, so they can make sure that you are safe. Plus, the Ring Car Cam features a siren that will go off when any activity is detected, and it includes automatic crash detection that will call emergency services when you get in an accident.
Finally, Ring introduced the Car Connect, which will harness the security systems and cameras that are already built into your car. This will let you watch videos of your driving, and it will send you alerts whenever motion is detected. However, this device will only work with Tesla cars to start with.
The Ring Car Alarm will start at $59.99, while the Ring Car Cam and Car Connect will both start at $199.99. All of these car security systems are expected to be released early next year.
Aside from the devices and services that Amazon announced during its annual hardware event, the company also made a pledge to be more environmentally sustainable. The tech giant said that it plans to be carbon-neutral across the entire business by 2040.
To make this happen, Amazon said it all new Alexa devices will be made from 100% recycled fabric and 100% recycled aluminum. Plus, all new Echo and Fire TV devices will feature a low-power mode and a new energy dashboard that will let you see the energy consumption of your devices. There will even be an over-the-air update that will bring these new features to older Alexa devices soon.
In addition, Amazon is building new wind and solar farms to offset the energy used by every Echo device.