Amazon held its latest launch event on Wednesday, announcing a ton of new hardware products and software upgrades to enhance your smart home. From new smart speakers to better Wi-Fi and even a new Kindle with a stylus pen, there was quite a lot to see at Amazon’s Devices & Services event. We’re surprised the company was able to squeeze it all in the span of about an hour.
It was an invite-only event, although we gathered some of the most significant announcements from the launch.
Echo speakers as Wi-Fi extenders
Amazon has a new generation of Echo Dot speakers, outfitted with an impressive and even a temperature sensor that can, for instance, turn on a fan if it notices your home is too hot. And the new Echo Dot with Clock can provide users with more information at a glance.
More importantly, users with eero mesh Wi-Fi routers can add the new Echo Dots to their system, extending their Wi-Fi to even more areas of their homes. And this capability is rolling out to 4th generation Echo devices as well.
The Echo Show 15 finally lives up to its name
The Echo Show 15 is an impressive smart display that’s great for the entire family, and Amazon is making it even better by adding Fire TV. This allows families to access the Fire TV UI to watch their favorite shows and movies, making it almost like having another TV in the house.
There are other updates coming to the display, such as personalized Alexa routines, video sticky notes, and more. However, the addition of Fire TV is easily the most notable.
More Fire TV hardware
Speaking of Fire TV, Amazon has a few new devices for users looking to upgrade their setups. The first is the next-generation Fire TV Cube, which has a built-in speaker, HDMI ports, and 4K upscaling that should make your content look good no matter how you’re watching it.
There’s also the new Fire TV Omni QLED Series, which features HDR10+ Adaptive, 96 dimming zones, built-in Alexa, and an ambient mode that will show you a slideshow of images if it detects your presence. It’s available in 65-inch or 75-inch 4K models.
Kindle with a stylus
Amazon just launched a new Kindle device, but the company isn’t done. The new Kindle Scribe brings a new level of productivity to the e-reader thanks to the included stylus pen that allows users to notate while they read. Users can even create sticky notes or send documents to their Kindle from their computers, allowing them to edit them with the pen.
Now you have a tablet that can do more while still keeping you productive.
Amazon has a few companies under its umbrella, including Ring and Blink. Both these companies make smart home security cameras, and both have launched their latest products. Blink’s new Wired Floodlight Camera brings 1080p recording and Person Detection, while the new Ring Spotlight Cam Pro adds 3D Motion Detection and Birds Eye View to let you see the bigger picture.
It sees you when you’re sleeping…
One product we weren’t expecting is the latest addition to Amazon’s Halo lineup. The Halo Rise is essentially a smart lamp that can monitor your sleep thanks to no-contact sensors. It’s not too unlike Google’s Nest Hub (2nd Gen), although it doesn’t have a display and comes with the added privacy of not including microphones. It can also wake you up at the most ideal times, depending on your sleep pattern, and you can set alarms to your favorite tunes.
Of course, it wasn’t just about devices, but there were also some updates to services, too. Alexa Together, Amazon’s service for remotely taking care of aging loved ones, is gaining customizable alerts to give caregivers better peace of mind.
Echo Show devices are also gaining some features, like Shop the Look, which lets users describe the clothing they want to shop for and shows them a selection of items, or Creative AI, which gives kids the chance to create stories with Alexa.
And looming over every announcement was “Ambient Intelligence,” which Amazon describes as digital services that work naturally in the background and adapt to users so that we don’t have to think too hard about using the products. Amazon says that 90% of Alexa routines are initiated without users saying a word and that Ambient Intelligence should be proactive and personal.