At its annual hardware event today, Amazon has launched a slew of Echo devices along with some exciting new Ring and other smart home products. Here’s everything you need to know about new Amazon hardware for 2021.
Amazon Fall Hardware Event Announcements (2021)
Astro Household Robot
Undoubtedly, the most exciting product at today’s event has to be the new Astro household robot. It comes with Alexa integration (well, of course) and roams around your home with a live camera feed from the periscope cam. Amazon says you can send Astro to check on specific rooms, things, people, and even pets.
Combined with the Ring Protect Pro subscription, you get additional home security features such as the ability to proactively patrol your home and send you notification alerts if it detects something unusual. In addition, it will also help aging parents when paired with Alexa Together (more on this below).
Privacy features in Astro include the option to see out-of-bounds zones to define areas where you don’t want Astro to enter and DND mode during certain times of the day. According to Amazon, Astro has embedded AI processors to enable edge computing. Astro will also support all Alexa features and can even move with you around the house when you are on a video call.
Amazon Astro household robot is priced at $999.99 and is available on invite-only access. The price of Astro will go up to $1449.99 when it is widely available.
Echo Show 15
Echo Show 15 flaunts a large 15.6-inch display and runs on the new quad-core Amazon AZ2 Neural Edge processor. You can place it on a stand in portrait or landscape mode or even wall-mount it if that’s what you prefer. The Echo Show 15 comes with a new interface with customizable Alexa widgets to show your shared calendar, sticky notes, favorite smart home devices, or even view live camera feeds in Picture-in-Picture mode.
As far as media consumption is concerned, the device supports 1080p video streaming and offers support for popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, and more. In addition, Amazon is also adding Sling TV support on all existing Echo Show devices later this year.
One key highlight of the Echo Show 10 has to be the new visual ID facial recognition feature. With Visual ID, Alexa can recognize when you are in Echo Show camera’s field of view. After successful recognition, the display will show personalized content based on your profile. Visual ID is optional, and is not enabled by default. Image processing takes place on-device and you have the option to delete your visual ID profile.
Echo Show 15 is priced at $249.99.
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Amazon Smart Thermostat is an Energy Star-certified thermostat that works with most 24V HVAC systems. As you would expect, it comes with support for Alexa voice assistant. Amazon has priced the new smart thermostat at $59.99 and you can pre-order one in the U.S. today. The e-commerce giant points out that customers eligible for utility provider rebates can get the device for $10 or free.
Amazon Glow is a new interactive video calling device meant for families, and especially children. Glow offers a 19-inch touch-sensitive projected area where users can interact in a shared virtual space in real-time. The device also comes with an 8-inch LCD display for the video feed of the parent who joins from a tablet. Amazon believes Glow will come in handy for better interactions, say if you’d like to play games like puzzles with kids when you are away. It even offers object scanning to let kids turn toys into digital stickers.
Glow offers hours of interactive activities with the included 1-year Kids+ subscription. Moreover, Amazon will open its SDK for more interactive content to a limited set of partners in the first half of 2022. Privacy-related features in the Glow include parental controls and a physical shutter for disabling the camera and mic.
Amazon Glow costs $299, but it is not widely available. Interested customers can sign up for invite-only access at $249.99.
Halo View and Halo Fitness
After showing off the Halo Band last year, Amazon has now unveiled what it’s calling the Halo View. Unlike its predecessor, the Halo View comes with an AMOLED color display. The fitness band promises up to seven days of battery life and can be fully charged in under 90 minutes. There are sports, fabric, metal, and leather band options to choose from. Halo View costs $99.99 and comes with 1-year access to Halo Fitness.
Also introduced today is Halo Fitness, Amazon’s new Apple Fitness Plus-like service which offers access to studio-quality workouts. According to Amazon, the service is integrated with Halo hardware and you can check real-time metrics, including live heart rate and heart rate intensity while you’re working out with one of Halo Fitness’ trainers.
Halo Fitness is part of Halo membership that’s priced at $3.99/ month. It will be available to all Halo members later this year. You also get Halo Nutrition, a meal planner to easily plan out your meal with over 500 recipes with the membership.
Ring Always Home Cam
Last year, Amazon announced the Ring Always Home Cam indoor flying camera. It is now available on invite-only access at $249.99 in the U.S. To recall, the Ring Always Home Cam casually flies around inside your home in a preplanned route to show you what’s going on. You can control it with the Ring app and can even set it up to do routes when an event is triggered. Always Home Cam’s camera is covered when it is in the dock and it records only when it is in motion.
Ring Alarm Pro and Ring Edge
The Ring Alarm Pro home security comes with a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router. It packs alarm and motion detectors to offer professional monitoring and online threat protection. Also announced is Amazon’s new Ring Edge, a service that allows users to insert a microSD card for local video storage and processing on the hardware itself.
Ring Edge is part of the Protect Plan subscription that starts at $3/month. Meanwhile, Ring Alarm Pro is priced at $249.99. Amazon today also announced Ring Jobsite security for monitoring jobsites and Ring Virtual Security Guard service to let users hire a professional security company to visually monitor their Ring cameras.
Blink Doorbell, Floodlight Cam, & Blink Solar Panel Mount
Amazon has announced the new Blink Video Doorbell with features, including HD video, night vision, motion detection, two-way audio, and Alexa alerts. The company also announced the Blink Floodlight Cam, which is a battery-powered smart LED floodlight that works with Blink Outdoor Camera. In addition, Amazon unveiled Blink Solar Panel Mount at its hardware event.
Blink Video Doorbell costs $49.99, while Blink Floodlight Cam is priced at $130.98. Getting the new Blink Solar Panel Mount will cost you $129.98. All three products are up for pre-orders in the U.S. today.
One privacy-friendly upgrade to existing 4th-generation Echo and EchoShow 10 speakers is on-device voice processing. The customers in the U.S. will soon be able to choose to process Alexa voice requests on-device without sending them to the cloud.
Going forward, you can teach Alexa your preferences, say your dietary needs. Moreover, users can teach Alexa to recognize custom sounds next year. For instance, you can teach Alexa to learn the beeping sound of your refrigerator and have Alexa send a notification if you forget to close the door (that’s smart).
To help aging family members, Amazon introduced the Alexa Together service. It comes with an urgent response feature for hands-free 24/ 7 access to a professional emergency helpline. It’s also compatible with third-party devices that support fall detection. Alexa Together will be available later this year. It is priced at $19.99 per month after a six-month trial for new customers or 1-year trial for Care Hub customers.
Amazon also introduced ‘Hey Disney’, an Alexa-based voice assistant built in partnership with Disney. Available on Echo devices soon, you can use it to interact with popular characters from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and more.
Another new feature coming soon to more Echo devices is ultrasound motion detection. The feature will come in handy for tasks like turning off your TV when you’re away. Meanwhile, Ringer cameras are getting custom event alerts to create personalized detectors specific to objects in your home.
Amazon Kids+ New Content
Amazon also took a minute to highlight how it added thousands of new titles to Amazon Kids+ since last year. More importantly, new shows are coming to Amazon Kids Plus, including Do, Re & Mi, the new Super Spy Ryan mobile game, ARPO Robot Babysitter, LEGO Monkie Kid, and Blippi’s Treehouse.
New Amazon Hardware Products Launched in Fall 2021
So, that brings us to the end of everything Amazon unveiled today at its fall hardware event. That’s certainly a lot of products, but if there’s one product that managed to steal the show, it has to be the Astro household bot. Which of these products are you looking forward to? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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