Amazon upped its game in the smart home market in a big way by announcing a host of new products at its hardware event in Seattle. We’ve been predicting a bunch of new devices for a while, and Amazon didn’t disappoint with a slew of new stuff for your smart home. We’ll get into it here, but you can see the raw feed from Amazon’s live blog here.
The big announcement this morning was a new, completely redesigned Echo Show, complete with an onboard smart home hub.
The new sound system features dual, side-firing 2-inch Neodymium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing to deliver powerful lows and crisp highs, which we believe is definitely better than the old Show. It is, as we tend to say around the office, “robust.”
The Echo Show also includes a high-resolution 10-inch display with twice the display area of the original Echo Show and potentially a direct hit on the Google Assistant smart displays. The device also has an eight-mic array, one of Amazon’s most powerful mics ever, with the direct intention of making Alexa available in as large an area as possible.
As it did with many of the products during its announcements, Amazon also kept the price the same: The new Echo Show will be available to customers for $230. Pre-orders start Thursday, September 20, and it will begin shipping next month.
Probably the next biggest news at the splashy event in Seattle was the much-rumored AmazonBasics Microwave, integrating Alexa into a compact countertop microwave expected to retail for $60. Amazon says it’s one of the hardest devices it’s ever integrated Alexa into because most microwave owners only use a fraction of the features. The AmazonBasics Microwave includes dozens of quick-cook voice presets, so users can cook just by asking Alexa.
Of course, the Microwave includes a built-in “Ask Alexa” button as well as built-in Amazon Dash replenishment in case you’re running low on popcorn.
Echo Wall Clock
Amazon also introduced an old-school, classroom-style analog clock that happens to have the Alexa digital assistant along for the ride. Retailing at just $30 and shipping later this year, the Echo Wall Clock is an Echo companion device that uses Bluetooth to connect to a customer’s Echo device.
Also winding its way into the Amazon smart home ecosystem is the Amazon Smart Plug, intended to embody how Amazon’s “frustration free setup” works. It’s Amazon’s first device to ship with Wi-Fi Simple Setup and it’s available for pre-order for $25.
Ring Stick Up Cam
Amazon also shared the release of the all new Ring Stick Up Cam, which comes with both wired and battery options. It comes in black and white, works inside and outdoors, and is available for pre-order now at Ring.com, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and HomeDepot.com for $180.
Finally, Amazon is doubling down on smart home security with the announcement of Alexa Guard, a home security hub that integrates with devices from partners like Ring and August to coalesce Echo devices, smart lights, and security service providers to help customers protect their homes while they’re away. In addition to adding doorbell support to Echo Show and Echo Spot, Amazon announced Doorbell Chime Announcements, which enables a chime on all of a user’s Echo devices when someone presses their smart doorbell. Alexa Guard will also include “Away Lighting,” a feature that uses machine learning to turn smart lights on and off, in patterns that seem natural, to deter intruders.
Of course, there were plenty of other devices announced in Seattle, too, so look out for our coverage of the new Echo Dot and Echo Input, the Echo Plus, a predictive artificial intelligence in Alexa Hunches, a crazy new car gadget, and all the other announcements we haven’t covered here.
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