Updated Sep 24, 2020 - Technology

Amazon launches new Alexa-enabled hardware

Amazon's new spherical Echo smart speaker

Amazon's new spherical Echo smart speaker. Screenshot: Axios

Amazon debuted a range of new Ring, Fire TV and Echo hardware on Thursday, including more environmentally sustainable versions of its audio and video gear. Among the products introduced are a cloud gaming service, a home monitoring drone and new spherical designs for its Echo and Echo dot smart speakers.

Why it matters: Amazon, like rivals Google and Apple, typically gives its consumer hardware a launch ahead of the holidays. Apple has already introduced new iPads, while Google has scheduled a Sept. 30 event, where it is expected to debut new audio and video gear, alongside updated Pixel phones.

So far, Amazon has introduced:

Audio
  • A $99 spherical Amazon Echo that includes an Amazon-designed machine learning chip.
  • The new Echo Dot ($49) and Echo Dot with clock ($59) also features a spherical design.
  • A new $59 Echo Dot Kids Edition speaker, which comes in tiger and panda designs, and includes audio content from Audible.
Video
  • A re-designed $249 Echo Show 10 smart display with a brighter display that automatically rotates to keep the screen in front of the user.
  • New Fire TV sticks, including a lower cost "lite" version for $29 with a simplified remote.
Wi-Fi
  • New Eero 6 routers that support Wi-Fi 6 and also act as a smart home hub using a protocol known as Zigbee.
Ring security
  • Three new Ring car alarms and cameras coming in early 2021 that can alert to a break-in, summon emergency responders in a crash and record video and alert friends if you are pulled over for a traffic stop. The products will range from $59 to $199.
  • A $249 camera drone called Ring Always Home coming in 2021 that can autonomously fly around the house and record video.
Miscellaneous
  • A new gaming service called Luna that has a controller that connects directly to the cloud, reducing latency and eliminating the need to pair the controller to each set-top box.

The big picture: Amazon also played up improved privacy controls and the work it is doing to lessen the environmental impact of its new products.

  • Amazon is adding a low-power mode for its new devices and offering an update for some existing ones.
  • It is also using recycled fabric and aluminum in the new products.
  • The company also pledged to create enough clean energy to counterbalance the energy consumed through use of the new products.
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