Amazon is about to reveal what’s next for Alexa and the Echo at its biggest event of the year (AMZN)
- Amazon held an event on Wednesday where it debuted new Echo hardware and other Alexa-enabled devices, including earbuds, a smart ring, and smart glasses.
- Here’s a breakdown of the event and everything Amazon unveiled.
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Not only did Amazon release an updated, high-end version of its popular Echo speaker, but it also expanded into new product categories entirely, like earbuds, a smart ring, and smart glasses.
We updated our live blog below throughout the event, so scroll below to learn about the news as it was announced.
Echo Loop is another Day One product. It’s a smart ring made of a titanium frame that have microphones built in for Alexa connectivity. It will cost $130.
Echo Frames look just like prescription glasses with Alexa built-in. There’s no camera or display built in. The glasses have directional microphones that let you hear Alexa’s responses, but not others around you. The glasses work with your phone and are controlled by your voice. You can also choose to turn off the microphone at any time. You can also filter which notifications Alexa will issue through the glasses, and which ones will remain on your phone.
Now Limp is talking about Amazon’s product development strategy. He’s talking about Day One Editions, a program for products that are finished, but may have some limitations. Echo Frames, a new pair of smart glasses, is one of those products.
The buds will have Alexa built-in, so you can ask it questions on the go. They’re available for preorder today for $130.
Amazon is announcing the Echo Buds too, the previously rumored AirPods competitor. The drivers in the earbuds are inspired by the same ones used by professional artists, says Limp. They will last for five hours on a single charge, and up to 20 hours with the case. The earbuds also have Bose’s active noise reduction technology, which can be turned on with a double-tap. You can also tap and hold to get access to Siri or the Google Assistant, whichever assistant happens to be the native one on your phone.
Now Limp is talking about Amazon Sidewalk, a new low-bandwidth network that uses the existing spectrum to extend the distance at which you can control devices like smart lights.
Amazon is also launching a Smart Oven. It supports voice control just like the microwave, but there’s also a new feature called scan to cook. You can take pre-packaged food items and scan them, and it will pre-program the smart oven accordingly. It costs $250 and is available for preorder today and comes with an Echo Dot.
Amazon is also launching the first Ring indoor camera too. It’s launching today for $60.
There’s also a new stick-up Ring camera coming soon too. It can run off battery or a solar-power accessory so it can be plugged anywhere throughout the home. It supports 1080p HD video and night vision among other features. It’s getting a 30% price cut making it $100, says Limp.
Now we’re talking about Ring. “When you add Ring to a neighborhood, crime is reduced,” says Limp. Amazon is announcing the Ring retrofit alarm kit so that older sensors can be re-used when connected to a Ring alarm hub.
Amazon is announcing another new product called the Echo Flex. It’s a tiny access point for smart home devices that has Alexa built-in, and it’s designed to be put in rooms all over the home where you may not have an Echo. There are already two accessories for it: a smart motion sensor and a smart night light. Preorders start today and it’s only $25.
Now we’re talking about Alexa Guard. You can now add it to routines, so that you can let it know you’re heading to work so that it locks the doors and turns off the lights with a single command. Amazon is also adding a new detector that can detect human activity through an Echo. It will look for indicators like the sound of footsteps or water running. This only happens when you set it to away mode.
Amazon is also launching a new feature for Ring video doorbells that allows it to act as a concierge that can take a message if you’re not home.
Amazon is also updating its Hunches feature to help you understand when you may need to replace components in connected devices. Alexa would be able to remind you to change batteries or the ink cartridge in a printer, for example. Alexa will also suggest routines for you by picking up on your daily habits.
Now we’re talking about Wi-Fi and eero, the mesh router company Amazon acquired earlier this year. Amazon is launching an all-new eero. It has a dual-band radio and covers the whole home in mesh Wi-Fi coverage. Amazon claims you can set it up in 10 minutes or less. It launches today for $99 and is coming to Europe later this year. It’ll be available in a 3-pack also for $249.
All devices that are part of the program can be set up from the Alexa app.
Amazon is also launching a new program called “Certified for Humans,” which appears to be a seal of approval for devices that are easy to install and set up. Certain smart lights, plugs, and small appliances will be part of the program at launch.
Limp is now talking about how and where people use Echo devices in their homes. The kitchen is a popular location for Echo usage, he says, especially because people love using it for recipes.
Amazon is launching a new Echo Show too, the Echo Show 8. It has an HD 8-inch display and the privacy shutter that the Echo Show 5 has. It’s $130 and available for preorder today.
Now we’re talking about Fire TV. Limp is summing up the announcements that were made at the IFA conference in Berlin. There are now 37 million monthly active users on Fire TV around the world, he says.
Amazon said it gave some artists in the music industry early access to the device, like Charlie Puth and 5 Seconds of Summer among others. The Echo Studio will cost $200 and goes up for preorder today.
Echo Studio has three midrange speakers on the left, right, and top, which it uses to model the space. There’s a directional tweeter up front, and at the base there’s a 5 and a quarter inch bass driver.