Technology News

Amazon Announces Another Smart Home Tsunami


As it does every September, Amazon today unleashed another amazing collection of Alexa-powered smart home devices that will become available in the coming days.

Before getting to the list of announcements, Amazon provided a bit of sustainability information about its new devices. The new Echo and Fire TV devices are made of materials like 100 percent post-consumer recycled fabric and 100 percent recycled die-cast aluminum, Amazon noted. All new wall-powered Echo and Fire TV devices will include Low Power Mode, which makes them even more energy efficient. And Amazon is adding an energy dashboard to compatible Echo devices and Alexa-connected smart home devices to help its customers understand their energy consumption of compatible.

Here’s a quick overview of the new devices and services.

Echo Dot. The Echo Dot has turned into a cute little globe with a fabric cover and the Dot with clock provides an LED display as well. There will be three colors—Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue—and better audio thanks to a larger speaker. Echo Dot is available for pre-order today for $49.99 and will ship later this year. The Echo Dot with clock will cost $59.99.

Echo Dot Kids Edition. The Echo Dot Kids Edition also comes in the new globe shape and it comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription for access to thousands of hours of kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational skills. Echo Dot Kids Edition will be available for pre-order today for only $59.99 and will ship later this year.

Alexa Guard Plus. Following in the footsteps of Alexa Guard, Guard Plus can help customers detect potential emergencies, deter intruders and, give customers always-available, hands-free access to an emergency helpline. When in Away Mode, Alexa will detect sounds of activity in your home, like footsteps or doors closing, and alert you. It can also play a warning sound from your Echo devices, like the sound of dogs barking. Guard Plus is $4.99 per month or $49 per year.

Care Hub. Care Hub is a new Alexa feature that will let family members care for aging loved ones from a distance by connecting your two Alexa accounts. Then, if a loved one needs help, they can call you as their emergency contact by saying, “Alexa, call for help.” Care Hub will also provide an activity feed, and you can set up an alert if no activity is detected before a certain time of day, so you can call to check-in.

Ring Car Alarm. The Ring Car Alarm monitors for impacts, break-ins, tows, and more, Amazon says, and will immediately send you an alert if anything is detected. Ring Car Alarm works in 99 percent of cars and costs $59.99 with no monthly subscription. It can link with other Ring devices and Alexa to trigger lights, cameras, sirens, and more.

Ring Car Cam. A security camera for your car, Ring Car Cam can help protect you and your vehicle whether you are driving or parked. As with Ring Car Alarm, the sensors monitor for bumps and attempted break-ins, and sends real-time alerts to the Ring app, when your car is parked. But thanks to its dual-facing HD cameras, you can also see a live view at any time. There’s also a feature called Traffic Stop: If you’re pulled over while driving, say, “Alexa, I’m being pulled over,” and your Ring Car Cam will automatically start recording and store footage from the stop securely. Ring Car Cam will cost $199.99.

Ring Car Connect. This is an API for carmakers that lets customers receive mobile alerts for detected events, watch recorded vehicle video footage, and see important vehicle information such as whether the car is locked. Any automaker can integrate on the service, but Tesla models 3, X, S, and Y are already compatible. Ring Car Connect will cost $199.99.

Ring Always Home Cam. This small indoor camera will automatically fly to preconfigured areas of the home, giving you multiple viewpoints with just one camera. It only records when in flight, Amazon says. When it’s not in use it sits in a dock that physically blocks the camera. The Ring Always Home Cam will cost $249.

Echo Show 10. Completely redesigned, the new Echo Show 10’s display can turn to face you, keeping the screen in view as you move around. The motion is completely silent, thanks to a powerful, brushless motor, and the camera digitally pans and zooms to keep you and your family centered. And in addition to Skype and Zoom support, Echo Show will support Amazon Chime as well.

Netflix on Echo Show. Netflix is coming to Echo Show later this year.

Video Calling with Fire TV. Later this year, Fire TV Cube users will be able to connect a Logitech USB webcam to enable two-way video calling with Alexa, and support for Zoom is coming zoon.

New Fire TV experience. Amazon has redesigned the Fire TV user experience with new features like a simplified Main Menu, Find destination, Profiles for up to six users, and voice-first experience with Alexa. It will begin to roll out to customers later this year.

All-new Fire TV Stick. With a processor that is 50 percent more powerful than the previous generation, the new Fire TV Stick also offers HDR compatibility, Dolby Atmos support, and it includes an Alexa remote with dedicated volume, power, and mute buttons so you can easily control your TV, soundbar and AV equipment. The all-new Fire TV Stick will be available later this month for $39.99. (Fire TV Stick 4K is not being updated now.)

Fire TV Stick Lite. Fire TV Stick is a low-cost way to stream video in Full-HD with HDR, and it comes with Alexa Voice Remote Lite. Fire TV Stick Lite will start shipping later this month for $29.99.

Luna. Luna is Amazon’s all-new cloud gaming service, and Brad wrote about it and the associated news here.

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