At the company’s fall 2021 hardware event, Amazon announced a number of products including the new Echo Show 15, an Alexa-powered robot called Astro and much more.
Echo Show 15
The new Echo Show 15 basically takes the same experience as on the smaller versions to a 15.6-inch 1080p display that you hang on your wall.
It can also be placed on your counter and works in both portrait and landscape. Inside the new Echo is the Amazon AZ2 Neural Edge processor which helps power new features like Visual ID and new Alexa experiences.
Visual ID is basically face recognition for Alexa using the built-in 5MP front camera. When you talk up to the Echo Show 15, it’ll recognize you and “the screen will automatically update to show you a custom greeting, your personal reminders, calendar events, recently played music, or personal notes from others in your home.”
“Today, families juggle multiple competing priorities—what time to drop the kids off at soccer practice, what to make for dinner, or when to schedule the next appointment—the list goes on and on. With Echo Show 15, Alexa can help,” said Tom Taylor, senior vice president, Amazon Alexa. “Echo Show 15 brings everything that makes your household tick into one place. With a redesigned home screen and Alexa widgets, you can customize Echo Show 15 to see your shared family calendar, manage to-do lists and reminders, find meal inspiration, and keep track of your incoming packages. Plus, Echo Show 15 can adapt to your home environment with full-screen photos or art, so it’s always there when you need it, but fades beautifully into the background when you don’t.”
The Echo Show 15 has a customizable homescreen that users can put widgets like calendars and more to make it personal.
The device can also be used to control your smart home devices and track devices like Echo Buds or Tile trackers.
The Echo Show 15 will cost $329 CAD ($249 USD) but no release date has been announced.
Amazon’s new Astro robot is basically if an Echo Show was on wheels.
The cute little robot has a screen that it uses to express different emotions as it interacts with you. At the top, you’ll find the usual buttons found on a Echo like the mic mut button, volume up and down and action.
To help it see above the floor level, the Astro robot has periscope camera that can extend and look around. The back of the robot has a compartment that can hold items but also a USB-C port to connect future accessories for it.
The robot can be used in conjunction with the new Ring Protect pro subscription that lets Astro roam your home while you’re out.
It hear smoke alarms, carmon monoxide dectors and breaking glass. It’ll then send a notification to you and also record what it sees and saves it your Ring account.
The Amazon Astro robot will be launching later this year in the US in limited quantities via the company’s Day 1 program for $999 USD. Afterwards, it’ll be priced at $1,449 USD.
Canadian pricing and availability to be confirmed.
‘Hey, Disney!’ Voice Assistant
Amazon is teaming up with Disney for a new type of voice assistant that works with Alexa.
“We’re bringing the worlds of Disney directly to Echo devices with ‘Hey, Disney!’,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices and Services. “By combining the strength of Alexa’s technology, with Disney’s unmatched storytelling expertise, we’re creating the next generation of immersive experiences to make guests’ vacations more memorable and giving our customers a way to make their homes a bit more magical too.”
Basically, you’ll be able to say ‘Hey, Disney!’ to your Echo speaker to get access to original character voice recordings and audio, with over 1,000 magical interactions.
It’ll also be coming to Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms, which is part of Amazon’s upcoming Alexa for Hospitality service.
“Our focus is to bring Disney storytelling to our guests wherever they are,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “Through Alexa technology, ‘Hey, Disney!’ will unlock new ways for guests to engage with our iconic characters and stories both at home as well as at our Walt Disney World Resort hotels.”
‘Hey, Disney!’ will be a purchasable add-on in the Alexa Skills Store in the US for select supported Echo devices, coming in 2022.
For now, Disney fans can dress up their Echo Show 5 with the Mickey Mouse-inspired stand which costs $31.99 CAD ($24.99 USD)and launches in October.
Blink Video Doorbell
Amazon’s Blink subsidiary has announced their first video doorbell.
“The new Blink Video Doorbell provides affordable, easy-to-use, reliable security at your front door, and is the perfect first step for customers looking to build out a smart home security system,” said Mike Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Blink. “Blink Video Doorbell is designed for every home – it comes packed with helpful smart security features like customized motion detection zones to monitor the areas that matter most to you and your family. With the addition of a video doorbell to Blink’s smart security camera line up – including the new Blink Floodlight Camera – you can see who’s at your door, keep an eye out for packages, and protect your whole home no matter where you are.”
The Blink Video Doorbell has a 1080p HD video during the day and night, two-way audio, app alerts and can be installed wired or wire-free.
Battery life on the doorbell is two-years via two AA batteries. Like other Amazon products, the Blink Video Doorbell is compatible with Alexa on Echo and Fire devices.
The Blink Video Doorbell is up for pre-order today in the US for $49 USD and ships in October. Canadian pricing and availability to be confirmed.