Amazon announced a line-up of new devices at its annual 2021 hardware event. We saw a range of new hardware, including a new robot, smart thermostat, fitness tracker and more.
The showpiece of the Amazon event was Astro, a new autonomous robot that is being pushed as a smart surveillance device for households. It is smart enough to create floorplans and move about on its own, and features a retractable periscope camera mounted on the dome. The robot can be controlled using voice commands.
It is integrated with Alexa and can scan households for intruders, and also provide live feeds on smartphones or other devices while you are away. Astro is also tuned for listen for things such as breaking glass or alarms.
Of course, it wouldn't be a robot without a fun gimmick, so it can beatbox on command.
Amazon Echo Show 15
The new entrant in Amazon's Echo line-up, Echo 15 is a smart display for your home. The 15-inch 1080p display is meant to be hung on a wall, and is being positioned as a component in a smart hub for homes.
You can use the Show 15 to catch up on calendar events, track to-do's, share notes with others at home and sync shopping lists. It's still capable of everything that previous Echo devices did, which is, play music, give reports, display news, stream video and of course, control other smart peripherals paired with it.
It can also identify individual members using face recognition, and can display content customised for each one. Amazon is using a new custom AZ2 neural engine processor for visual identification and the company says all data will be stored locally on the device.
Meant for kids, Amazon Glow is a video conferencing tool that has a built-in table top projector. It is primarily aimed for education uses and is designed to keep young children entertained, who might otherwise get bored and wander off.
The device can project games, books, puzzles and more activities that kids can engage together with parents or teachers, making learning more fun. It also comes with bundled with one year access to Amazon Kids+, which is the company's subscription service for delivering kid friendly content.
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Amazon is entering the smart appliance category with an all-new smart thermostat. It has been designed in collaboration with Honeywell, and is compatible with existing HVAC systems.
The pricing at $59.99 makes it very competitive against similar offerings Google's Nest. It is smart enough to judge changes in surroundings and adjust temperatures as needed.
It also comes with Alexa and all the 'AI smarts' that entails.
Amazon Halo View
Amazon's second generation fitness band now features an AMOLED display, that provides access to metrics like workouts, Halo health readouts with up to seven days of battery life.
It is also swim-proof and will come in three sports band colours.
New Ring Devices
There were a slew of new Ring security devices on display, starting with an autonomous flying drone camera called Always Home Cam. All you need to do is to press a button on the Ring app and the drone will take a pre-planned path along the household to show you what's going on.
The device can also be programmed to take flying routes at pre-determined intervals. Amazon says that the camera will be covered when its in the dock and the drone will only film when its in motion.
Besides this was the new Ring Alarm Pro base station that also doubles as a WiFi 6 router.
Ring Virtual Security Guard is a new subscription plan, that allows a customer to use a professional security company to visually monitor households using Ring cameras. You can choose which cameras you want monitored, and a real security professional can check the feed and let you know in case of suspicious activity.
The Blink Video Doorbell can be installed either wireless or wired, and is integrated with Alexa. Optionally, users can also choose a smart Blink Floodlight Camera that can be integrated with the Doorbell. It's also solar powered.
Alexa Together is a new subscription service aimed at caregivers for old and aging parents. It is primarily targeted at folks, caring for loved ones remotely.
Through a combination of Alexa devices, the service can notify when a family member access these devices and can cue up a series of interactions to make them feel at home. It can also notify closest of kin, in case of emergencies or provide hands-free access to emergency care services.Fall detection can provide quick assistance in cases of falls and Remote Assist will allow caregivers to interact with members, and manage shopping lists, music services etc., all by accessing devices remotely.