Amazon managed to cram about a dozen product announcements into a 50-minute presentation last week, unveiling everything from new Alexa smart speakers, to a cloud gaming service, to next-gen Wi-Fi routers, fitness trackers, and home security devices. It was a lot.
If you blinked, you might’ve missed a few.
We’ve got you covered, though. Here’s a recap of all the new Amazon hardware and services announced yesterday, including how much they cost and when you can get your hands on them.
New Echo speakers
Amazon opened the presentation by showing off a batch of new Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers:
- All-new Amazon Echo ($149): The new flagship Echo speaker trades the traditional cylinder look for a spherical design. It features two speakers, a 3-inch subwoofer, and a new AZ1 processor for faster Alexa response. It also has a built-in home hub that can control other smart home devices and a ring of lights at its base that react to your Alexa interactions.
- Three new Echo Dots: a $79 model; a $99 model with a built-in clock display; and a $US60 ($85) “kid’s edition” that can be customised with cute animal-themed mesh covers. All three Echo Dots feature the same spherical shape as the flagship Echo, but are smaller and less powerful.
You can preorder the new Echo and Echo Dot now. All four models will launch later this year, but it appears Australia won’t be getting the Kid’s Edition jut yet.
Echo Show 10 smart display
Amazon also unveiled a new voice-controlled smart display, the Echo Show 10, with a 10-inch display and 13-megapixel camera. The Echo Show 10 supports drop-in video chat and uses AI to adjust the camera’s angle during calls to keep you in frame.
Amazon used the Echo Show 10’s announcement to confirm that Netflix is now available on all of its smart display devices, but watching it on the Echo Show 10 will be better, as the Show 10’s tracking camera will automatically keep the screen pointed at you if you’re moving around the room.
We’d be lying if that wasn’t kinda creepy, but thankfully the Show 10 doesn’t use facial recognition and can’t “tell” who is on camera. It also enters a “low-powered” mode when not in use. While in this mode, the device is disconnected from Amazon’s cloud servers and does not record audio.
The Echo Show 10 comes in white and black models. You can preorder it now for $399. It is expected to ship sometime during the holiday season.
Luna game-streaming service
The next big announcement was Amazon’s long-rumoured, cloud-based video game streaming service, Luna. Unlike a dedicated gaming console, Luna lets players access games on devices they already own. Luna will be available as a dedicated app on PC, Mac, and Fire TV devices at launch, and accessible via web apps on iPhone and iPad. An Android app is also planned.
Naturally, Amazon says Luna will feature strong Twitch integration as well, though details are sparse on what exactly that entails.
Users can play using a keyboard and mouse, Bluetooth controllers, or the $US50 ($71) Luna Controller. Amazon claims the Luna controller has lower latency than regular Bluetooth controllers.
As for games, the core of the service is the “Luna+” channel, which includes a library of games you can stream from any supported device. In fact, users can stream a game on up to two devices simultaneously on a single account. The Luna+ channel will be $US6 ($9) during its early access preview period, and features a handful of games at launch, including (but not limited to):
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Panzer Dragoon Remake
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- Resident Evil 7
- The Surge 2
More titles will be added to the Luna+ channel over time.
Amazon is targeting 4K/60 FPS video quality for games on its service, but will only support up to 1080p video at launch… whenever that is. Amazon did not announce an access date for Australia or an eventual launch date, but U.S. customers can request early access today.
Upgraded Fire TV Stick and Stick Lite
Moving on to Amazon’s video streaming products, the company announced an upgraded Fire TV Stick ($US40 ($57)) and Fire TV Stick Lite ($59).
The two streaming sticks are fairly similar. Both feature:
- HD video and HDR support
- Voice search and playback controls
- A new Fire TV interface
- A new energy-saving low-power mode
Amazon says Fire TV Stick Lite is the fastest sub-$59 streaming device on the market. The $US40 ($57) Fire TV Stick is faster and has dedicated volume buttons but it’s not available in Australia just yet. The Lite comes to Australia on September 30.
Eero Wifi 6 Routers
Amazon will launch two new Eero routers with mesh networking technology and Wi-Fi 6 support later this year. Preorders for the Eero 6 ($US130 ($184)) and Eero Pro 6 ($US230 ($326)) are available now in the U.S. It does not appear to be available in Australia yet.
Amazon’s new Halo fitness wristband give you yet another option for a fitness-tracking wearable, but it’s a simple, screen-less wristband accessory, rather than one of the smartwatches many of us are accustomed to.
In order to use the Halo band, you’ll need to subscribe to Amazon’s Halo membership ($US4 ($6) a month). The band tracks body composition (body fat versus muscle), sleep patterns, daily activity tracking and sedentary time comparisons, and more. You can access this data in the Halo mobile app.
The Halo band will launch later this year for $US99 ($140) in multiple colours and sizes, but it’s discounted to $US65 ($92) for a limited time during early access. This also does not appear to be available in Australia just yet.
Always Home Cam security drone
Amazon showed off Ring’s new Always Home Cam — a flying security drone that patrols your home on its own. Seriously.
The drone is outfitted with a camera and patrols your house. Users can view the drone’s camera feed in the Ring app, and can create routes for it to follow.
Amazon preempted the privacy concerns inherent in a device like this, saying the drone only records video while flying, and that the camera is physically obscured while docked. It’s also loud enough to hear while it’s hovering around.
The Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 for $US250 ($354) in select regions. Australia is not one of them (yet).
Alexa Guard Plus
This paid upgrade to Alexa Guard adds 24-7 audio monitoring to your setup for $US5 ($7) a month or $US50 ($71) a year. Users will receive an alert on their phone if their Amazon products notice unusual activity. Your devices will also play warning sounds to ward off potential intruders.
Alexa Guard Plus launches later this year in select regions (not yet in Australia).
Ring Car Security devices
Lastly, we have three car security devices from Ring. They aren’t available yet, but will likely launch in select regions in the coming months. You can sign up for email updates on Ring’s website.
- Ring Car Alarm ($US60 ($85)): This device plugs into the OBD port under your car’s stearing wheel. It detects break-ins, crashes, tows, and more.
- Ring Car Cam ($US199 ($282)): An Alexa-powered Ring security camera for your vehicle. It syncs up to your Ring app and monitors for break-ins and can automatically call for assistance after an accident. It also works as a dashcam.
- Car Connect ($US199 ($282)): Uses a car’s built-in security features and on-board cameras to create a security system that sync to your Ring app. It only supports Tesla cars at launch, but support for additional manufacturers will be added in the future.
Like other newly-announced Amazon products, these may not launch in Australia. Stay tuned for more news.