AMAZON has unveiled a host of new Alexa gadgets – including a ROBOT, a flying home security drone, $60 smart thermostat and a giant Echo Show screen.
Many of the new gadgets are here just in time for Christmas – including the $999 Astro robot.
Amazon’s special event took place on Tuesday, September 28 at 9am California time.
Perhaps the most surprising announcement was Astro – a robot for your home.
It has built-in Alexa, and can move around thanks to a built-in set of wheels.
Amazon revealed that a working prototype has been operating for around a year in staff homes.
You can move the robot around your home, controlling it with a smartphone app.
A built-in camera lets you get a live view of your home.
There’s even a periscope cam to get a a higher field of view.
A screen will reveal what the device is doing, showing messages like “on patrol”.
It can avoid objects and travels at a metre per second.
Amazon described it as “a huge step forward”.
Astro will be available for an introductory price of $999.99.
You can request an invite to buy the device from today, with shipping ‘a little later this year’.
The other headline gadget is the Echo Show 15, a giant smart screen powered by Alexa.
It can be mounted on a wall, and Amazon says it “doubles as a TV”.
You can also turn it into a digital portrait, where it will show a favourite photo of yours – for times when you’re not actively using it.
It’s available for $249.99 / £239.99 later this year.
Last year, Amazon showed off its Always Home Cam – a home security drone.
The micro-drone could fly around your home when you’re away, and features a built-in camera.
But it’s remained largely out of the spotlight even since.
You can watch through your smartphone, and it’ll beam live footage – although the camera is covered when the drone is in the dock.
Finally, you can sign up to buy one this year.
There’s a new Amazon Smart Thermostat, which is built thanks to a partnership with Honeywell.
And it starts at $59.99 – Amazon says this is “less than half the average thermostat”.
It’s got built-in Alexa, so you can control your home heating with your voice.
Alexa is Amazon’s virtual assistant, which has appeared in countless gadgets in recent years.
The iconic voice-controlled helper can answer questions, play music, and control other smart home gadgets.
Amazon revealed that it would be processing audio locally on Echo devices – for the first time ever.
It’ll only work on the latest round of Echo speakers.
Usually your audio is sent to the cloud over the internet, processed, and then returned to the speaker to give you a response.
But with this new method (thanks to boosted processing power inside Echo speakers), your speech stays on the device.
That’s brilliant news for privacy, and is far safer than shipping your speech to the cloud.
One of the strangest new products is Amazon Glow, which is aimed at families with kids.
It’s got a built-in projector so children can play games on a tabletop.
And an 8-inch screen lets a family member dial in – maybe granny wants to play along too?
It’s available for $249.99 – but is being shipped on an invite-only basis for now. So you’ll have to request it, and you might not get chosen.
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