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Amazon fall hardware event: Home robot, flying drone, and new Alexa devices

Amazon didn’t disappoint at its annual fall September event, where the company announced a slew of new devices. Notably, there was no refresh of its Echo smart speaker line, which makes sense given it was refreshed in a tremendous way at last year’s event. Nevertheless, there was no shortage of exciting product announcements that covered the gamut.

New products mostly centered around the smart home, including an ambitious Alexa-powered robot called Astro, as well as a couple of neat smart displays that aim to help families stay connected with one another. There’s a ton to unpack, but here is all the exciting news to come out from Amazon’s September 2021 event.

Everything announced at the Amazon event

Similar to last year’s show, the Amazon event was a private event that was invite only. The livestream had plenty of announcements that covered Amazon and it various properties, like Ring and Blink. Unlike previous years, this Amazon event was strictly a smart home affair.

Amazon Smart Thermostat

Amazon Smart Thermostat hanging on wall.
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Amazon partnered with Honeywell Home to launch the budget-minded Amazon Smart Thermostat for just $60. Powered by Alexa, this smart thermostat learns your preferences and automatically adjusts the temperature throughout the day. It makes use of geofencing to adjust the temperature when you leave to save energy, or to make your home perfectly comfortable when you return.

The Amazon Echo Show 15 is the biggest yet

Amazon Echo Show 15 hanging vertically on the wall.
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The Amazon Echo Show 15 is the largest Echo Show yet and can act as a sort of smart home command center. The screen real estate is capable of picture-in-picture displays, showing live camera feeds of your security cameras, the status of your smart home at a glance, and more. With 1080p video streaming and the ability to orient in both landscape and portrait mode, you can use this new smart display to watch Prime Video, make calls, and more. The Echo Show 15 will be available later this year for $250.

Teaching Alexa new tricks

Alexa Together Routines.
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Alexa has been able to pick up on specific sounds, like glass breaking or a dog barking. Now you can teach Alexa to listen for specific sounds, such as the beep your refrigerator makes when the door is left open. She’ll notify you if that sound is detected.

You’ll also be able to teach Alexa specific things about yourself. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, you can teach this to Alexa and she’ll keep that in mind when making suggestions for restaurants or recipes.

Alexa Together is a new service that helps care for elderly family members. It’s compatible with third-party fall-detection devices. You can ask Alexa to call for help and be connected with a professional to further respond to an emergency situation. The service will be $20 per month, but is available to try for six months for free.

Amazon Kids+. Hey Disney!

Hey Disney partnership with Amazon showing Disney characters.
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Amazon Kids Plus is getting more content, including Blippi’s Treehouse, Lego Monkie Kid, and more. Amazon is also partnering with Disney to launch Hey, Disney! — a kid-focused platform that allows children to interact with some of their favorite Disney characters.

Amazon Glow is a video-calling device and toy in one

Child using the Amazon Echo Glow.
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Amazon Glow is a video chat tool that combines video calling with a projected display that helps kids connect with loved ones. If you’ve ever tried to keep a fussy kid focused on a video, you know how difficult it is. Amazon Glow has an eight-inch LED display that lets you chat with a loved one while also playing interactive games with them, no matter how far away you are.

Amazon has worked with Disney, Mattel, Sesame Workshop, and Nickelodeon to create content for kids to enjoy through Amazon Glow, with even more content on the way later this year. You can request an invite to purchase Amazon Glow for an early access price of $250.

New Amazon Halo View band

Cycler riding while wearing the Amazon Halo View.
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The Amazon Halo View is a new fitness tracker with an AMOLED screen with up to seven days of battery life. It’s waterproof so you can swim with it, available in three different colors, and has multiple band options. The Halo View will cost $80 and be available in time for the holidays.

In addition, Amazon Halo now includes Halo Fitness, a series of workout videos. It will be available to all Halo members later this year as part of their standard subscription. Halo is also adding Halo Nutrition to help plan meals, track caloric intake, and more. It will be available early next year.

Ring Always Home Cam invitations are available

The Ring Always Home Cam and its charging dock.
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The Ring Always Home Cam was announced last year, but now more details have been released. The $250 Ring Always Home Cam can fly on preplanned routes in the home. Amazon is opening the invitation list to receive one. It’s an ambitious device for the home security space, given the nature of a flying camera that patrols your home.

Ring Alarm Pro and new Ring features

Ring Alarm Pro mounted on wall.
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The Ring Alarm Pro is a base station for your Ring security system with an Eero Wi-Fi 6 router built-in. It includes professional monitoring and online threat protection, as well as 24/7 internet backup. It also includes Ring Edge, a feature that allows customers to store all of their Ring camera footage locally on an SD card.

Ring is also introducing the Ring Virtual Security Guard. This service provides professional monitoring for all of your Ring outdoor cameras and lets a third party monitor your home for you.

New affordable Blink cameras

The Blink video doorbell expands Blinks line of smart home devices.

Blink is adding the Blink Video Doorbell to its lineup. This video doorbell, its first, can be hardwired, but can also run on just two AA batteries. With 1080p HD video, two-way audio, customizable motion detection zones, and smartphone alerts, the Blink Video Doorbell packs a lot of value into its $50 frame. Pre-orders begin now.

Blink is also adding the Blink Floodlight Cam with solar power mount and camera. The Floodlight Camera gives off 700 lumens and can be connected to the Blink Solar Panel. On its own, the Floodlight Cam is $40, but bundled with the Blink Outdoor, the cost is $140.

Amazon Astro is an Alexa-powered robot

Astro robot follows behind woman.
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Amazon Astro is a cute, dog-like robot that combines computer vision with Alexa algorithms to perform tasks that Alexa can’t do on its own. Astro can be sent to check on specific rooms or people. It has a built-in camera, and its periscope camera can be extended to check higher areas, like the stove or countertop. It can be programmed to patrol your home, and videos can be saved directly to your Ring account.

Astro isn’t just Alexa, though. It has its own personality and persona. For example, you can ask it to beatbox and it will “dance” and drop a beat. It still includes all of the features you expect from Alexa. You can even make video calls, and Astro will follow you around the house to continue the conversation.

Astro will be available for an introductory price of $1,000. You can sign up today to be part of an invitation program for the Astro.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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