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Amazon drops first-gen Ring doorbell price to $100 after closing acquisition

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Ring’s Video Doorbell 2, which looks almost identical to the cheaper original model
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

As of today, Amazon officially owns Ring, the smart home company that was famously rejected on Shark Tank and went on to popularize the smart doorbells with built-in security cameras. Amazon purchased Ring in February for more than $1 billion, and the deal formally closed today.

Now, Amazon is already taking action in a very typically Amazon fashion: lowering prices. It’s starting with Ring’s standard video doorbell, which is dropping in price from $180 to $100. Amazon did a similar thing when it closed the acquisition of Whole Foods, dropping prices on avocados and other staples like bananas and ground beef.

Amazon has been making some big moves in the smart home space lately. There’s Alexa, of course, which is slowly invading more and more homes through Echo products and other integrations. But there are also a number of other smart home products and services that Amazon is offering. The company sells a security camera that works with its in-home delivery service. It also bought another smart home company in December, Blink, which sells battery-powered smart doorbells and security cameras.

These acquisitions make Amazon increasingly well-positioned to capitalize on the growing smart home market. And since Amazon doesn’t care all that much about up-front prices — it likes to sell cheaper products and make more money later through additional sales or services — it can make these products even more appealing by selling them for less than basically anyone else. Nest’s smart doorbell is $229; August’s is $199.

That said, there’s still a hidden cost to all these products, and Amazon isn’t making that any cheaper: the subscription. While you can use Ring’s doorbell without a subscription, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee if you want to view any saved videos. Otherwise, you’re just confined to the live feed.

None of Ring’s other products are getting discounted, though. That includes its higher-resolution doorbell cameras (like the Video Doorbell 2, seen above), its spotlight cameras, and its security system.

Amazon says that Ring will continue to operate under the Ring brand, though it’s hard to imagine that it won’t eventually be tied in even more closely to Amazon’s growing list of smart home services.