When Amazon announces new products in the fall, it often does it in bulk — fitting for a retailer, maybe, but harder to discern what’s what and which new products are most worthy of your attention. The Verge will try and help with that. We anticipate Amazon announcing a variety of new products coming to its Echo, Fire, and Ring lineups on September 28th.
But even if Amazon has already made some notable announcements prior to this event, don’t forget how expansive its products are, from Ring to August smart locks to game streaming and actual video game development. The most recent rumors encompass a wall-mounted Echo, Alexa-powered soundbars, a second-generation Echo Auto, and more.
Oct 13, 2021
If recent headlines were any indication, Amazon’s fall hardware event was all about Amazon’s forthcoming home robot, Astro, and its new home surveillance drone. Buried in the deluge of announcements, however, was the Halo View, an $80 fitness tracker that bears a striking resemblance to the recently released Fitbit Charge 5. The similarities become even more pronounced when you consider the View’s new display and its ability to track your heart rate and sleep quality. In many respects, it seems as if Amazon created a Fitbit Charge 5-like wearable at a price point that makes it far more accessible. Or did it?Read Article >
We analyzed the two to find out. We have yet to test the Halo View, however, so note that the comparison below is based on the View’s specs and our hands-on review of the Fitbit Charge 5. We’ll dig even deeper once we get our hands on the new wearable.
Oct 2, 2021
There's something in our complicated human brains that immediately develops a connection to anything with eyes. Don't believe me? Ask the Anki Vector that lived on my desk for several months. This pocket-sized robot got my attention with its bulbous, non-threatening body. But the second it looked up at me with a quizzical look in its eyes and uttered my name, I knew I would die for this tiny forklift. It’s worth noting that the Anki Vector can be programmed to do a variety of things if you have the time to mess around with an SDK, but I brought this robot home because it was cute, not because I needed a project.Read Article >
I’d watch with amusement as the little gadget puttered around my desk, occasionally looking back at me as if seeking my approval, and I couldn’t help but think that this sensation is exactly what Amazon is trying to replicate with its recently announced Astro home robot.
Oct 1, 2021
In December 2017, Amazon spent $90 million to acquire Blink, a Kickstarter-funded startup that developed a super energy-efficient chip to power its battery-operated smart home security cameras. In January 2018, Blink announced its first video doorbell. The next month, Amazon dropped a cool billion on Ring, a smart home security camera company known for essentially inventing the video doorbell. The writing was on the wall for Blink. It seemed apparent to industry analysts that it had been snapped up for its innovative tech, which surely would be pumped into the bigger, badder Ring.Read Article >
Fast forward three years, and Ring’s founder, Jamie Siminoff, walks out onstage at Amazon’s latest hardware bonanza event and announces Blink’s first-ever video doorbell. Ring has seven video doorbell cameras of its own you can buy.
Sep 29, 2021
First announced at last year’s Amazon hardware event, the Ring Always Home Cam is now ready for take-off. Starting today, September 28th, you can request an invitation to be a crash-test dummy for Ring’s newest innovation. The Always Home Cam is a Ring camera attached to a drone that can fly predetermined paths in your home when triggered via a Ring Alarm sensor or from the Ring app. The camera costs $249.99; if you live in the US, you can apply for an invitation to buy it today, and the devices will ship later this year.Read Article >
Designed to solve the problem of wanting to be able to see inside your home when you’re not there but not wanting to have dozens of cameras watching you when you are, the Always Home Cam only records when it’s in flight. When not in use, it sits in its charging dock that blocks its lens. It can fly to specific viewpoints on demand — such as the front door or kitchen stove — and can also tie into a Ring Alarm home security system and buzz over to any action — such as a door or window opening when the alarm is armed.
Sep 29, 2021
When I watched Amazon’s press event yesterday alongside my Verge colleagues, I was impressed with some of the new tech the company was introducing — but less than impressed with the way it introduced them. The deal is that, if you qualify for an “invitation,” you get the chance to buy — at a slight discount — a product that is still essentially in its beta phase. Oh, and please let Amazon know if anything goes wrong!Read Article >
Before I continue, a brief history: Back in 2010, I applied for a Google pilot program for a new type of computer that eventually became the Chromebook. I was delighted when I actually made it into the program — according to Wikipedia, about 60,000 people did — and I received, free of charge, a somewhat weighty, black, and rather weird Cr-48 prototype laptop loaded with the new (and, at that point, only somewhat useful) Chrome OS. It was made very clear that this unit was for testing only (although it was, of course, written up in many tech publications). Those of us who received the Cr-48 were asked to use them and report on any problems we found or any general impressions of their usefulness. The first retail Chromebooks shipped about a year and a half later.
Sep 29, 2021
Yesterday, Amazon announced its “home robot” — a wheeled device named Astro that has a display, an array of sensors, and a camera that periscopes out the top of its body like a mast. In advertisements for Astro, Amazon presents the device as an engineering breakthrough and the realization of a long-held sci-fi dream: to build a robot that can help around the house.Read Article >
This is rubbish, of course. What Astro is — for better or worse — is a camera on wheels.
Sep 29, 2021
Amazon laid out its plans to make ambient computing an even bigger part of its customers’ lives at its hardware and services event on Tuesday. But while that vision includes surveillance drones and being followed around your home by a rolling Alexa-on-wheels called Astro, it was missing products for the other place people spend a lot of their time — their cars.Read Article >
That left an automotive-sized hole in Amazon’s presentation, and there are some good reasons to find it odd. Rumors in the lead-up to Amazon’s event pointed to the launch of a second generation Echo Auto, alongside several other predictions that ended up being true, like the wall-mounted Echo Show 15. Leaks of the Ring Car Cam in June also seemed to suggest that the Amazon-owned home security company would announce launch dates for its line of car products, which featured prominently in Amazon’s fall hardware event last year. But not this one: neither device appeared.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon introduced a new robot today with the face of an Echo Show, the sensor-laden body of Panera Bread delivery bot, and a pair of cupholders for a trunk. The instant it was announced, people clamored for a reason for its existence beyond “mobile camera with a cute face” and “potentially invasive surveillance drone.” Most seemed to settle on “beer fetcher.”Read Article >
But friend, a pair of cupholders does not a robowaiter make.
Smart home company Ring has announced the third generation of its popular budget Ring Alarm home security product. The Ring Alarm Pro is a single device combining Ring’s security system with an Eero Wi-Fi router, 24/7 internet backup, and local processing and storage for Ring cameras.Read Article >
This all-in-one device is designed to offer physical home security as the base station for Ring Alarm’s Z-wave sensors and digital security through the cybersecurity features Eero offers in its Wi-Fi system. It also acts as a smart home hub for compatible third-party gadgets, such as door locks, thermostats, and smoke alarms. And, with a new processor on board, the Ring Alarm Pro can connect to Ring cameras to process and store videos locally.
Ring is bringing package alerts to its Ring video doorbells, and it’s about time, too. This is a much-requested feature that’s already found on most of its competitors’ camera doorbell offerings. When the main selling point for a product is that it will deter porch pirates, it’s kind of important to be able to keep a virtual eye on those packages.Read Article >
The pings that will tell you when a package is on your porch will start rolling out to the Ring Pro 2 and Ring Video Doorbell (2020) in the US and internationally today and should arrive on other buzzers next year. But this still doesn’t address a big issue with most of Ring’s doorbells; the cameras’ wide viewing angles often don’t pick up the spot where the package is left. Only the Pro 2 has a head-to-toe view for seeing the whole porch.
Amazon announced a fleet of new products at its hardware event, including the Astro home robot, several Ring home security products, and other products like a bigger Echo Show 15 and the Amazon Glow for kids. Unlike previous years, the list of products that you’ll soon be able to preorder is rather short, leaving the most interesting products available on an invite-only basis. Still, we’re going to point you to where you can find out more about getting one of them for yourself. Here are all of the biggest announcements from Amazon’s show, if you want to catch up.Read Article >
One of Amazon’s most affordable devices announced today is its Smart Thermostat, which costs $59.99. It will be released on November 4th, 2021, and you can preorder one right now. Read more details on the Smart Thermostat here.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon announced a home robot called Astro during its fall hardware event today, September 28th, which is designed to serve as a helpful mobile assistant that can navigate around the main floor of your home. Amazon promises Astro will be able to patrol your home while you’re away, carry small objects from room to room (as long as a human places the object in its storage compartment), follow a person around with its periscope camera while on a video call, play music, and play games with children, as well as carry out a bevy of other small tasks. It’s essentially an Echo Show 10 on wheels, complete with Alexa support, mixed with some of the expectations of a robot vacuum sans vacuuming — room assignment, navigation, and self-charging via a dock.Read Article >
The Astro is being made in small quantities to start, as Amazon figures out exactly what the robot will be capable of in a larger amount of people’s homes, so it’s starting it off as an invite-only product. The Alexa-enabled assistant robot will ultimately cost $1,449.99, but it’s available as part of Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program for $999.99 and comes bundled with a six-month trial of Ring Protect Pro service. You can submit invite requests on Amazon, and the company has indicated that it will begin granting invitations and shipping Astro devices to US customers “later this year.”
Sep 28, 2021
First announced last year, Amazon will begin selling its Ring Always Home Cam starting today, September 28th, alongside the new Ring Alarm Pro, Blink Video Doorbell, and several other products. There are just two caveats: access to the Ring Always Home Cam is invite-only at the moment, and it won’t ship until later this year.Read Article >
The new Ring Always Home Cam is an autonomous, indoor security camera that essentially amounts to a flying drone strapped with a Ring camera on the bottom. With it, you can keep an eye on what’s going inside of your home even while you’re away. That’s because the device streams 1080p video to your smartphone via the Ring app, allowing you to check for intruders or make sure you didn’t leave the stovetop on at a moment’s notice.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon has released a few new products from Blink since acquiring the Kickstarter smart home security darling in 2017, and today, during its fall event, it added three new items to the lineup that are made to mind your various entry points.Read Article >
Blink announced a doorbell ahead of CES in 2018, but that one doesn’t appear to have hit the market, so this is the first-generation Blink Video Doorbell. It will be available for $49.99 and claims it’s ready for use in any home thanks to a design suited for wired or wire-free installation. 1080p HD video, night vision, motion detection, two-way audio feeds, and integration with Alexa are all a part of the product.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon has announced a new fitness band and a plethora of health services to go along with it. The new $79.99 Halo View includes a color AMOLED display (similar to Fitbit’s Charge 5) and a year of Amazon’s Halo membership, which is required to access the tracker’s more advanced analytics. Amazon’s also launching a Halo Fitness service, which provides workout videos similar to Apple Fitness Plus, and Halo Nutrition, which helps you meal plan.Read Article >
Amazon is pitching the Halo View as a follow-up to its previous Halo Band fitness tracker, which didn’t include a screen. While the Halo View can gather a ton of biometric data, including heart rate, blood oxygen level, and skin temperature, it won’t be gathering your voice data like the previous generation did — according to CNET. Amazon has dropped the microphone that the original Halo used to monitor and analyze your emotions (though that feature will still be available in the Halo app). The Halo View can also do sleep tracking and alert you to text messages with a haptic motor.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon just wrapped its fall devices event, and it was chock-full of news, including new Echo devices, new Ring products and services, and even a home assistant robot named Astro. It was a lot.Read Article >
We’ve recapped the biggest news of the show right here, including links to many of the Verge articles going into more detail about what Amazon announced.
Sep 28, 2021
For his last column in 2017, Walt Mossberg predicted that technology would fade into the background, and so-called “ambient computing” would become ubiquitous. Four years later, we are well on our way — but what exactly that term means for how computers will work and how we’ll live is still very much up in the air.Read Article >
Many companies are working on some vision of ambient computing, but there’s nobody working harder to try to make the idea of ambient computing happen right now than Amazon’s head of hardware, Dave Limp. How he’s building that future today is a case study in how Big Tech confounds our preconceived notions of how progress works. We expected AI to look like HAL 9000. Instead, it looks a lot more like a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.
Sep 28, 2021
The announcement of Amazon’s new wall-mounted Echo Show 15 also revealed its new CPU that comes with some interesting (or potentially scary) applications. The AZ2 chip builds on the machine learning interface that premiered with the AZ1, which allowed Amazon devices to better recognize your voice, but has extended this capability to facial recognition as well. This comes with Amazon’s new focus on what it calls “Ambient Intelligence.”Read Article >
Let's explain what the AZ2 does on paper before we dive into the implications of this hardware. The AZ2 is capable of 22 times the amount of operations per second compared to the AZ1, which means it can simultaneously process speech and facial recognition locally. The information the AZ2 learns about your face will be part of what Amazon is calling “Visual ID” and requires users to specifically enroll in this feature. This enables the Echo Show 15 to recognize you and display custom content based on your Alexa profile.
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon is announcing a new subscription service called Alexa Together today during its invite-only fall hardware event. The company’s new $19.99 per month service offers the same features as the free Alexa Care Hub with new additions. Amazon plans to eventually replace its existing tools for caring for family members remotely with Alexa Together in 2022.Read Article >
Like Care Hub, Alexa Together can notify you when a family member uses their Alexa device, offer a feed of interactions they had with the assistant throughout the day, and function as a quick way to get a hold of each other in the case of an emergency. Alexa Together adds new emergency features like hands-free access to an “urgent response emergency helpline” and compatibility with fall detection devices from ATS and Vayyar.
Ring revealed its latest ambitious security product today: real-life people watching over your home. Taking the concept of monitored security to the next level, Ring’s Virtual Security Guard is a new subscription service that lets agents at a professional monitoring center respond to specific motion alerts on any outdoor Ring camera and take action for you.Read Article >
Virtual Security Guard requires a Ring Alarm home security system to work (Gen 1, 2, or Pro) and costs $99 per month on top of a $20 monthly Ring Protect Plus subscription for professional monitoring. It works with any of Ring’s wired, outdoor cameras (including all the wired doorbells, the Spotlight Cam, Stick-up Cam and the floodlight cameras). You choose which are monitored through the Ring app, and when a camera detects a motion event while the Ring Alarm is armed, the monitoring company is alerted and responds based on what it sees. The agent will use a series of guidelines and your preferences to tailor a response and can use features like the camera’s two-way talk to communicate with a visitor, turn on the siren, or send emergency services.
Amazon and Disney announced a custom voice assistant called Hey Disney that’s going to be available on Echo devices installed at Walt Disney resort locations, piggybacking on the skills of Alexa. Unlike Amazon’s in-house assistant, Hey Disney is ultimately used for customer service inquiries, helping Disney World or Disneyland visitors find answers to park-specific questions. Disney says this new wake word will “make the Alexa experience more magical.”Read Article >
There was no onstage demo of the assistant, but it seems like it’ll work as you might expect it to. By saying “Hey Disney,” you can ask it questions like “what time does the park open?”, “where can I get Italian food?”, or use it to request more blankets for your resort room.
Sep 28, 2021
During its big hardware and announcement event today, Amazon revealed some exciting news for those of us who prefer linear viewing: Sling TV is coming to all existing Echo Show devices.Read Article >
Amazon said during the event that the Echo Show will soon have support for live and linear viewing through the Sling TV app. Support will also extend to the new wall-mounted Echo Show 15, which could change the way users interact with their devices. Support for Sling TV will make the Show work more like a traditional television, particularly in rooms like kitchens where space might be tight.
Amazon has never shied away from making strange gadgets that require a bit of explanation, but the new Amazon Glow might take the prize for the strangest in several years. It’s a videoconferencing device that also has a tabletop projector built into it. The idea is that younger children get quickly bored with video chats and wander off, leaving their remote relative staring at an empty screen. So the Amazon Glow can project games, books, or puzzles onto a table that kids and their parents (or grandparents) can play together.Read Article >
Amazon Glow will cost $299.99 when it’s released widely, but for now, anybody who wants one will need to apply to an invite-only program (and get an introductory price of $249.99). It comes with a year of the Amazon Kids Plus content service, has a two-year warranty against all breaks and spills, and also comes with a set of interactive tangram shapes kids can use to solve puzzles. The first units should ship in mid-October and only in the US to start.
Sep 28, 2021
Today is Amazon’s fall product hardware showcase, and the company’s Alexa voice assistant is learning some intriguing new tricks. Amazon says you’ll be able to program Alexa to recognize “custom sounds,” so it could theoretically alert you or trigger smart home actions when it hears the sound of your choice. You’ll also be able to have some Echo devices emit an “inaudible ultrasound wave” that can detect if your home is occupied and automatically turn off compatible devices.Read Article >
“Alexa can then use this to automatically perform actions like turning off your Fire TV if it was still on when you left for work,” the company says. It’s calling this “Ultrasound Occupancy Routines.”
Sep 28, 2021
Amazon is once again expanding its lineup of Echo Show smart displays, and this time, it’s going bigger. The new $249.99 Echo Show 15 is the largest smart display the company has released so far, with a 15-inch, 1080p HD display. It’s also got a different design than the company’s prior models — instead of being a touchscreen attached to a bulky speaker, the Echo Show 15 is flat and can be hung on the wall.Read Article >
Amazon’s pitch for this smart display is for it to be a shared hub for families to see things like upcoming calendar appointments, to-dos, sticky note reminders, and shopping lists. It envisions it being placed in communal spaces — a living room, frequently accessed hallway, and, of course, the kitchen. It’s capable of all the things prior Echo Show smart displays could do, such as playing music, showing weather reports, streaming video, controlling smart home gadgets, and all the other stuff you can ask Alexa for.