Everything Amazon Announced at Its 2021 Hardware Event
During its biggest event of the year, Amazon unveiled tons of new devices, including its first smart thermostat, a budget-friendly video doorbell, and a wall-mounted Echo smart speaker. The tech giant also introduced some totally new devices, like a video-chat gadget designed for children and an autonomous robot that can keep an eye on your home when you’re away. Here are all the new devices and features that Amazon announced during its fall hardware event and when you can get your hands on them.
Amazon’s First Smart Thermostat
Amazon partnered with Honeywell Home to release its first smart thermostat ever. The new Amazon Smart Thermostat works with most HVAC systems, and it can automatically adjust the temperature based on when you’re home or away. Like most smart thermostats, you can also control the temperature with voice commands, via an app, or set up a schedule or smart routine.
However, what sets this smart thermostat apart is that it only costs $59.99, which is less than half the price of most models on the market. Plus, the tech giant claims you can get it for only $10 or even free with utility rebates. If not, this Energy Star-certified device will still save you enough on your energy bills to pay for itself in the first year.
Amazon is also expanding its line of budget-friendly smart devices with a $50 video doorbell. The first-generation Blink Video Doorbell comes with an HD camera, night vision, two-way audio, and motion detectors. It can be powered with your existing doorbell’s wiring, or you can keep it wireless and run off two AA batteries for up to two years, according to the Amazon page.
During the event, Amazon spent a lot of time talking about its biggest smart speaker ever. The new Echo Show 15 has a 15.6-inch HD screen that can be mounted on the wall or placed on a stand in landscape or portrait mode. Amazon boasted that the newest Echo Show is so big, it can double as a kitchen TV.
Just like previous models, you can use the Echo Show to watch movies on Prime Video, Netflix, and other streaming services. Plus, you can see a live view from your smart cameras and video doorbells. And, when you’re not using it, the Echo Show 15 can transform into a digital picture frame with a rotating carousel of your favorite family photos.
Aside from having a bigger screen, Amazon says the Echo Show 15 was “designed to be the digital heart of your home” and help your family stay organized. With its customizable widgets, anyone in your family can leave a note, add an item to the grocery list, and update your shared calendar.
The newest Echo Show also comes with an upgraded processor, which allows it to recognize everyone in your family and display personalized content. You can even teach Alexa new sounds, so the Echo Show 15 can recognize the specific beep that your fridge makes when it’s left open for too long, and you will receive a custom notification.
Amazon didn’t give an exact release date for the Echo Show 15, only saying that it will be available for $249 sometime “later this year.”
Amazon released the first-generation Halo fitness band last year, but that model didn’t have a screen. While the company claimed a screen would just distract users, it is now caving to popular demands and releasing the new Halo View.
This new fitness band has an AMOLED display that lets you check your heart rate, steps, blood oxygen levels, and more. You can also receive text messages and track your sleep health. The Halo View is swim-proof, and the battery lasts for up to seven days on a single charge.
Will be available “in time for the holidays” with a starting price of $79.99.
During the event, Amazon announced a totally unique video-chatting device specifically designed for kids. The Amazon Glow has an 8-inch display that keeps your kids in frame and a projector with a touch-sensitive surface that allows them to interact with loved ones in real-time.
During a video call, your child can use the 19-inch interactive surface to read a book, play a game, draw a picture, or solve challenges with you. On the other end, you can use the free Glow app to play along with them from your smartphone. This way, you can keep the child engaged with real tactile objects to turn a passive call into an interactive one.
This new device will only be available for invited customers starting at $249 next month.
After waiting an entire year, Amazon is finally releasing the Always Home Cam, but only a limited number of customers will be able to try it out. This smart drone allows you to fly a camera around your home instead of installing smart cameras in every room.
This smart device will go for $249, but you have to be invited by Amazon. In order to request an invitation, you will have to fill out a questionnaire that asks you about your home and which smart devices you have. Amazon warned users who want to test the Always Home Cam to “sign up quick.”
Amazon took its smart alarm system and added a WiFi router to turn it into a whole home hub. The new Base Station comes with an eero WiFi 6 router built-in that provides up to 1,500 square feet of coverage to keep all your smart cameras, motion detectors, and other devices connected.
In fact, this smart alarm system promises to keep all your devices online, even when your WiFi goes down. If you choose to enable the new 24/7 Backup Internet feature, your Ring Alarm Pro will start using cellular data when there’s no internet available.
That means that you can use the Ring Alarm Pro to connect to an LTE network in rural areas without internet access. However, this network is from a third-party provider, and you only get 3 GB of data a month with your Ring Protect Pro plan. After that, you will be charged $3 for every extra gigabyte of data you use.
Plus, the new Base Station allows you to process and store your videos locally. With the new Ring Edge feature, you can store approximately 47 hours of footage recorded from your smart cameras instead of sending it to the cloud. This means no one else will be able to see your footage, and it will also make your WiFi faster by reducing the bandwidth your smart cameras use.
The Ring Alarm Pro is available for pre-order today, but it won’t start shipping until November 3.
Finally, Amazon ended its event by announcing a “new kind of home robot” called Astro. This autonomous robot can wheel around your home on its own and bring all the features of an Alexa device to you.
While Astro can follow you around to play music or make video calls, the two main functions Amazon focused on were home monitoring and in-home care. With Live View, you can use Astro to check on a specific room or find your pets. It even has a periscope that will raise the height of the camera, so you can check if you left the stove on.
You can also use Astro to check up on aging family members and set up routines to know when they get up in the morning. With its big, expressive eyes, Astro was made with a unique personality. Amazon took feedback from thousands of testers and inspiration from famous movie robots to make Astro come to life.
Astro will only be available by invitation, and it will have a starting cost of $999. However, when it becomes available to everyone, the price will increase to $1,499.