More Alexa, anyone?
Amazon’s September hardware event returned this year to bring us spanking-new devices, with Alexa-enabled features front and centre, shocking. The event, which Amazon live-blogged but did not stream, kicked off as it did last year with a presentation from David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices. He teased out some of what’s new from the company and just like last year, Amazon dropped so many product reveals that it’ll make your head spin. Here’s what to know.
First up, Amazon’s Echo Dot gets a clock. According to CNET, the new Echo Dot with Clock has an LED screen behind the speaker that will display not only the time but alarm times and the temperature when asked. This little guy clocks in (sorry) at $99 in Australia. Amazon says if the Dot is used as an alarm clock, users can now tap to snooze as well.
Amazon also debuted a new Amazon Echo, which looks just like the Echo Plus. In fact, Amazon said the device will now come with some of the Plus audio features, including neodymium drivers, 3-inch woofer, and increased volume for better bass and overall sound. The new Amazon Echo will retail at $149 in Australia.
Also new to Echo is a feature called Alexa Guest Connect, which will allow users to remotely access their playlists on a different Echo device. Now you just have to figure out how to slyly ask your friends to let you play your music over theirs.
One of Amazon’s bigger reveals on Thursday was the Echo Studio, which the company claims is “the most innovative speaker we’ve ever built” and is clearly intended to take on the Sonos One and Apple HomePod. The smart speaker supports Dolby Atmos and has the ability to connect to 4K Fire TV devices.
Echo Studio comes loaded with three mid-range speakers and a 5.25-inch bass driver and bass port. Amazon says that all you have to do is plug it in, and the device will calibrate the room to deliver 3D audio. The Echo Studio is priced at $329 in Australia.
Editor's Note: The following announcements did not come with Australian pricing, so it can be assumed there is no current or immediate plans for them to release on our shores.
Intended to be the happy medium between the Echo Show 10 and the Echo Show 5, Amazon today announced its all-new Echo Show 8. The device comes with an 8-inch HD display and borrows the Show 5’s camera shutter and design.
The FreeTime feature that’s been available on the iPad Echo Dot will now be available on the Echo Show. Amazon says the FreeTime on Echo Show will showcase kid-friendly videos, allow for video calls that have been pre-approved by a guardian, and allow for photo-editing with stickers. So if you’re ok with inviting your children and their personal data into Amazon’s ecosystem get excited. It retails for $US130 ($193).
Also new to the Alexa-enabled device family is this, well, glowing orb. The so-called Echo Glow is meant to be a kid-friendly product that can put on a cascading light show, flicker like a campfire, set a sleep timer, or — in the future — throw a dance party with lights. The Echo Glow will retail for $US30 ($44).
Ring Stick Up Cam
Joining the Ring line of smart cameras is the new Stick Up Cam, an indoor and outdoor device that features 1080p HD video, motion detection and night vision. Amazon says it can run on a solar-powered accessory, plugged in, or on a battery. It will cost $US100 ($148).
Ring Indoor Cam
Guess what? Another camera! The company on Thursday announced the Ring Indoor Cam, which it’s billing as its budget-friendly security device. It will cost $US60 ($89).
Amazon Smart Oven
Like last year, Amazon again debuted a smart tech for the kitchen with its new Amazon Smart Oven, a microwave-convention oven-fryer-warmer hybrid that can be controlled with other Alexa-enabled devices. This microwave on steroids is priced at $US250 ($370).
One of the rumoured reveals for Thursday’s event was smart glasses, and in a “one more thing”-like moment toward the end of the event, the glasses made their grand debut... on Limp’s face. The Amazon-enabled Echo Frames don’t have a camera or display, similar to Bose’s Frames, and are prescription compatible. Per Amazon, the glasses are meant to access Alexa while out and about.
These babies are part of Amazon’s Day One Editions initiative, which the company bills as “a new way for us to get new products out in limited volume, to customers, and to get real feedback — and if customers love them, we’ll double down and build a lot more.”
What that means is that for now, these are part of an invite-only release, similar to the Echo Look or Echo Auto, and even the original Echo. All three were slowly rolled out in limited volume.
The Echo Frames retail for $US180 ($267) for that select group, but you didn’t need to know that.
Also teased out as part of its super-exclusive releases was Echo Loop, an Alexa-enabled smart ring featuring two teeny, tiny microphones and a button for activating the wearable device. According to Amazon, the ring — which pairs with a user’s phone — will vibrate to let users know when Alexa is listening as well as when someone is receiving a notification or a call.
Again, this device is invite-only, but if you must know, it will retail to a lucky few at $US100 ($148).
The Echo Flex is a bitty speaker meant to be plugged into wall outlets. Rather than for music, Amazon says this device is intended for Alexa. It’ll feature forthcoming accessories like a hallway smart nightlight and Ring-linked motion sensor, and it comes equipped with a USB charging port for charging other devices.
Amazon says the Flex will retail for $US25 ($37), and its accessories will start at $US15 ($22).
Muscling its way into the increasingly crowded smart buds field, Amazon debuted its first-ever Alex-enabled wireless Echo Buds.
According to the company, these offer up to 20 hours of battery life with the case, but just five hours of battery life without it. At $US130 ($193), they’re cheaper than Apple’s Airpods but the same price as Samsung Galaxy Buds.
According to Amazon, these buds feature a noise-cancellation setting though Bose’s Active Noise Reduction technology. Plus, the buds are compatible with other voice services like Siri or Google Assistant.
Eero, the Wi-Fi router company that Amazon gobbled up earlier this year, also stole some stage time on Thursday. According to Amazon, a new Eero will feature dual-band radio and TrueMesh technology, with Eero Secure or Eero Secure+ services available as subscription add-ons. Amazon was limited on specs, but it’s worth noting this thing is definitely bulky and appears to be a cheaper (and probably slower) version of its flagship.
Eero is immediately available in the U.S. for $US100 ($148) or in a 3-pack for $US250 ($370). Europe will get a later release in November.
If you haven’t totally over-exhausted your capacity for Amazon hardware at this point — and you’d absolutely be forgiven if you have — there’s one more. Amazon teased a forthcoming product for your pup, Ring Fetch, which can clip onto a dog collar and track if your pet has left a certain area. Amazon says this will arrive next year.
And that’s it for hardware!