September 29, 2021
A flying Ring camera, a new Echo and more devices announced by Amazon
Ready for a security camera that flies around your house?
A flying, autonomous Ring camera is among several new devices unveiled Tuesday by Amazon during an event streamed online.
The tech giant best known for its sprawling online retail empire introduced multiple gadgets, including a larger Echo Show with touchscreen, a fresh line of Ring cameras and a new kid-friendly device called the Amazon Glow.
Amazon's event caps a big month in tech, kicked off by Apple with its announcement and launch of the iPhone 13, along with two new iPads and Apple Watch.
Last week, Microsoft announced a line of Surface devices including a laptop and 2-in-1 tablets to leverage Windows 11, the next operating system for PCs which launches Oct. 5.
Here's everything Amazon revealed Tuesday:
Amazon Smart Thermostat
The tech giant is partnering with Resideo, which makes Honeywell Home thermostats, to create a smart thermostat starting at $59. After utility rebates, some consumers could get the thermostat for free.
It leverages Alexa to let users adjust temperatures based on their preferences. Because of the partnership with Resideo, the thermostat is expected to work with most HVAC systems.
Amazon Glow: A children's tablet on your table
Perhaps the most interesting family device is Amazon Glow, an interactive gadget combining video calls with a projector that allows kids to have a tablet experience on a flat surface like a table.
Catherine Teitelbaum, who works with Amazon's Family Trust team, said the idea behind Glow was aimed at grandparents and grandkids who might connect from long distances via Zoom or other video calling tools. Glow is meant to create more engaging moments when virtually together.
"We're asking (kids) to meet us where we are in our grownup world, but this product naturally brings grownups into the kids' world," said Teitelbaum.
The device itself has an 8-inch display for video calls, while the projector can create a 19-inch touch-sensitive space. Along with a silicone mat, the Glow uses an infrared plane just above the mat along with a camera in the projector to recognize hand movements.
"We wanted to make sure that movement really replicates the experience you get on a tablet," said Behrang Assadi, senior manager for product and marketing at Amazon.
For example, while a child is working on a puzzle using the Glow space, a grandparent can join them on a Glow app for iOS and Android devices to help with the puzzle as they chat together.
Other experiences coming to the Glow include books and games like Chess, Checkers or Go Fish. Amazon is partnering with companies including Mattel, Disney and Nickelodeon to create new kids' content. The Glow comes packaged with a puzzle game called Tangram Bits, which allows remote players to join in.
The Glow will sell for $299.99, but is available at $249.99 for a limited time. Customers can request an invite from Amazon for early access.
Echo Show 15: Big screen for staying organized
Think of the Echo Show 15 as a big family bulletin board. The device features a 15-inch display, which you can either rest on a countertop with a stand or hang on a wall like a photo. The Show can be displayed either horizontally or vertically.
Amazon says this new Show was designed to help families stay organized as well as entertained. It supports a variety of widgets such as weather, calendar or sticky notes to help families stay on top of activities or appointments.
Users can also manage their smart home devices, and since it's a big display, you can watch shows or movies from Netflix, Hulu or other streaming apps. Amazon said it will soon support Sling TV and TikTok, which will arrive on all Show devices soon.
There's also a mode for when guests are in your home, hiding your notes and widgets and replacing them with photos or artwork like they're in a picture frame.
The device also features Visual ID, similar to face-recognition features found on devices like the iPhone. When a user decides to create a profile, the Show will recognize them through its camera and automatically pull up the appropriate widgets or personal notes.
Amazon said owners can choose to turn off the camera and microphone at any time, and the camera includes a built-in shutter. It's available later this year for $249.99.
Ring Always Home Cam really flies
We didn't think Amazon would literally launch a device, yet here we are with Amazon's latest Ring camera. Users will create custom, predetermined paths for the Always Home Cam to fly on its own and monitor. It has active sensors, advanced navigation algorithms and an on-board flight control system to go where its owners choose. According to a video demo, owners control the camera with an app. After picking a specific path, the camera pops out of its hub and begins its airborne surveillance.
Amazon said the camera will only record in flight. Customers can request an invitation to purchase the Always Home Cam starting Tuesday.
Ring Alarm Pro and a virtual security guard
The Ring Alarm Pro is Amazon's next-generation home security system. It has a built-in eero Wi-Fi router and backup internet so you don't lose a connection. It can alert to smoke, leaks and other emergencies. The company will also roll out a subscription service called Ring Protect Pro to add video cloud storage, professional monitoring and cybersecurity features. The Alarm sells for $249.99, while the Protect Pro subscription is $20 a month ($200 a year).
If that's not enough, you can also add a Virtual Security Guard, a separate subscription service where users can allow third-party professional monitoring companies to track events on Ring outdoor cameras. It's available starting Tuesday by invite only.
Halo View: Amazon's answer to Fitbit
Amazon is launching a new waterproof fitness tracker called Halo View, which features seven days of battery life and comes available in three sports bands. Users can add other bands made of different materials such as leather. The Halo View costs $79.99 and launches this holiday season.
The tracker will also feature a variety of tools as part of a Halo subscription, which provides features such as body composition tracking and sleep analysis for $3.99 a month. It includes upcoming Fitness services with immersive workouts and Halo Nutrition to help users eat healthier.
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