Last Thursday marked yet another important event in the tech world in the lead up to the holiday season in 2020. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, and others have already had their turn, and this time it was Amazon’s time to jump into the ring. There were a number of important announcements from the Seattle based company that included a new version of the Echo, an update to Alexa, and some solid new features having to do with security. Amazon also introduced the world to Luna, its new cloud gaming service. These new announcements come just in time for the new Amazon Prime Day this October too. Below are the key announcements from this Amazon hardware event.
Amazon provided a number of updates to its Echo offerings
The popular Amazon Echo was unveiled Thursday and it has a much more appealing look. The latest version of the echo is a spherical, snowball type model. It has the standard Zigbee support and is integrated with Amazon Sidewalk. The audio on the device is certainly a priority and the Echo will feature Dolby sound. The new Echo will cost $99 with a release date of October 22nd.Read More »
Finally, these Echo devices will be able to be used in what the company is calling a “low power mode” in an effort to limit energy. This will be available for new Echo and Fire TV devices connected to a wall charger with support to come soon for some older versions too.
The Echo Show 10 will actually follow you around as you move
In what might seem like both a creepy and useful new feature, the new Echo Show 10 smart display will move around as a person changes locations in a room. The device sits on a motorized base and can tell where sound is coming from in order to then position itself so it faces the speaker.
Another addition to the Echo Show 10 is integration with streaming leader Netflix, which now joins Hulu and of course Amazon Prime Video on the platform for streaming. This new smart display will be available for $249.95 with preorders already happening though there is no release date at this time.
Meet Luna, Amazon’s new cloud gaming service
This was something that many people had speculated about for some time. Amazon unveiled its gaming service, which will be powered by AWS and serve as a direct competitor to Microsoft’s xCloud and Google’s Stadia. Luna will be playable on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and the iPhone to start out and will also soon get support on the Android. Anyone wishing to use the newly launched service can request early access now.
The release of Luna also meant the release of a new controller for the platform. The model is fairly standard, though Amazon contends it will work well when paired with its “Cloud Direct” offerings. The new controllers currently cost $49.99.
Ring introduces several new features
Home security has been rapidly changing and Amazon owned Ring has played a big role in this shift. The company unveiled the Always Home Cam, which is a security drone that will monitor a person’s home and be tethered to a power dock for battery charges. This device will cost $249.99 and be available sometime in 2021. This is yet another example of Amazon’s interest in drone technology.
Ring also announced better security for cars with the Car Cam and the Car Alarm. These will both be available in 2021. In addition, Ring are unleashing a new API called Ring Car Connect that will be able to be used by car manufacturers to integrate their cameras with Ring’s own system.
Finally, Ring will release a new encryption system pertaining to video footage at no cost for anyone using it by the end of 2020.
Changes to the Fire TV stick and Fire TV
Another huge announcement was a new version of the popular Fire TV Stick. The new model actually will ship with an Alexa Voice Remote, will have HD streaming, and Dolby Atmos. It can be had for $39.99. Another slightly less expensive and a bit simpler version, the Fire TV Stick Lite, will be available for $29.99. These will both be available for purchase on September 30th.
The look of the Fire TV when it is being used at homes across the world will also be slightly different, and anyone with a Fire Stick should expect to see these changes in the user interface later in the year.
New Wi-Fi routers
The tech giant also unveiled two new routers for Wi-Fi, the Eero 6 and then the Eero Pro 6. They both have functionality with Alexa, Zigbee Smart Home Hub, and Wi-Fi 6. They can both be preordered now with a shipping date of November 2nd. The Eero 6 is $129.99 and the pro model will be $229.99.
Alexa gets a year older and wiser
The latest and greatest version of Alexa will include the ability to recognize and respond to questions at faster speeds. Amazon has updated the chip in Alexa so that it can do this, and the wide array of new Echo devices announced at this hardware event will make use of it.
Secondly, Alexa will be able to actually follow more than one person at a time and ask follow up questions when necessary. The demo of the new functionality showed Alexa helping two people order a pizza, and displayed how the device can tell the difference between when it is being directly addressed and when two people are speaking to one another.
Finally, the company unveiled Alexa Guard Plus in an effort to bulk up the security of an Echo device. Amazon already offers a less sophisticated free version of this, but the beefed up security option will be $4.99 per month for those interested.
All of these new products will most certainly get high priority for upcoming Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales. Many shoppers will want to also wait to see what Google has up their sleeves too, as next week they are set to announce their own set of hardware products
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