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Here’s what to expect from today’s big Amazon hardware event

Here’s what to expect from today’s big Amazon hardware event


New Echo devices? New Fire TV things? We’ll find out

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon is hosting an event in Seattle on Wednesday, September 25th, where it is expected to announce new hardware and possibly new services. The company held a similar event last September where it unleashed over 70 announcements and many new products across its Echo and Fire TV product lines.

It’s hard to say whether the company will do the same thing this year, as Amazon has managed to be the only tech company to keep its products from leaking ahead of their formal announcements. But since it’s hosting an event and inviting journalists out to Seattle to attend it, we expect there will be something to see. Here are our educated guesses on what we expect to be announced, what might be a maybe, and what is probably off the table.

Likely stuff: new Echo devices, Ring products

Last year, Amazon refreshed the Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show at its September event. What it didn’t update was the standard Echo, so it’s possible that we’ll see a new version of that announced this year. Also long in the tooth is the Echo Spot, though it’s not clear if Amazon intends to just quietly sunset that model in lieu of the Echo Show 5 or if it will update it with a newer version.

The Echo and Ring devices announced at Amazon’s 2018 hardware event.
The Echo and Ring devices announced at Amazon’s 2018 hardware event.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Amazon recently announced a new “lossless” tier for its music streaming service that provides a higher-quality stream with better-sounding music. It would make sense for the company to come out with a higher-quality speaker that can actually do justice to this lossless stream, as you’re not likely to notice a difference with the current Echo lineup. Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Amazon was working on such a thing.

Also possibly on the table are Alexa-powered earbuds, which were reportedly in the works earlier this year. A report from CNBC indicates that the earbuds, which may be priced below $100, will be able to track running distance, burned calories, and pace. While these features are available elsewhere, this would be the first portable first-party Alexa device from Amazon, not counting the Echo Auto, and it would mark a big step for the line if it comes to fruition. The same CNBC report says that Amazon is planning to introduce a “bulkier Echo device with better sound quality,” perhaps referring to the same device in the Bloomberg report.

Amazon’s Ring brand of video doorbells and home security devices was a part of last year’s event, and according to Digital Trends, it will make an appearance this year, too. What that might entail is anyone’s guess. Ring tends to release things at an irregular cadence, and most of its current products are fairly recent.

Finally, Amazon’s weirdest announcement last year was a microwave that you could link to an Echo device and control with your voice. It’s possible that the company could come out with a similarly unexpected appliance this year, perhaps a wheeled robot device that’s also reportedly in the works by Bloomberg.

Maybe stuff: Health tracker, Fire TV, and Fire tablets

Fire TV updates were a big part of last year’s event. Amazon announced the Fire TV Recast, a DVR for over-the-air television. It’s possible the company will announce new Fire TV products this year as well, either through updates to existing devices like the Fire TV Stick line, which is currently available in either HD or 4K models, or entirely new devices that we haven’t seen the company produce yet.

It’s not likely that we’ll see much news on the Fire TV Cube, nor is it likely that we’ll see new Fire TV partner television sets, as both of those were just refreshed at IFA a few weeks ago.

Amazon Fire TV Cube.
Amazon Fire TV Cube.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Another possibility is a health tracker with an Alexa twist. In May, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was working on a bracelet fitted with microphones that can interpret the wearer’s emotional state based on their voice when paired with a phone app. It sounds crazy, but Verge Science explored the concept of “vocal biomarkers” in April. There’s no limit to the number of devices Amazon’s willing to embed with Alexa and the company is starting to branch out into health care. So don’t be too surprised to see the wearable code-named “Dylan” make an appearance on Wednesday.

Amazon could announce an expansion of its Prime Video service, maybe even with new content or channels, since Apple and Disney will both be releasing their own streaming services this fall. But we don’t have any solid intel on whether this will happen or what it might amount to.

Another thing on the maybe pile is an update to the Fire tablet line. The Fire HD 10 is two years old and could be up for a refresh. Amazon’s most popular tablet, the Fire HD 7, was just refreshed this summer so we’d be surprised to see a new model of that this week.

Don’t expect it: new Kindle devices

One thing Amazon has been consistent with is keeping its Echo and Fire device announcements separate from its Kindle announcements, and we see no reason for that to change this time around. Both the entry-level Kindle and the high-end Kindle Oasis were refreshed earlier this year, while the popular Kindle Paperwhite got a bump late last year, so we don’t expect to see new Kindle devices at this event.

We’ll be on the ground at the event in Seattle, so be sure to tune in to our live coverage to see what Amazon does this time around.

Update September 25th, 2:23AM ET: Article updated with the latest rumors.