The 5 Best New Products Amazon Just Announced
More Alexa, more privacy, more ... Samuel L. Jackson?
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Like it or not, Alexa is going to be part of your life.
On Wednesday, Amazon announced over a dozen new hardware devices … and voice assistant Alexa was front and center in pretty much all of them.
Most of the announced items were new variations on the Amazon’s existing hardware — primarily Echo and Ring devices, though those product lines have now expanded to devices like earbuds, smart rings and even dog trackers (though that particular item isn’t available yet).
But maybe the biggest news — besides adding an explicit Samuel L. Jackson as a celebrity voice to your Alexa — was Amazon’s supposed new commitment to privacy. Among the new and re-emphasized features: Camera shutters on devices, auto delete and Alexa command delete of voice recordings, a previously announced Privacy Hub where you can manage privacy settings and “Privacy Zones” for Ring alarms. Make of those privacy claims what you want.
If you can handle more tech intrusion into your life, there were some positive announcements. Our favorite new items included:
The third-gen version is a smart speaker now with an LED display that’ll show the time and outdoor temperature. You can also tap it to snooze.
Or, Amazon takes on Sonos and Bose with a larger smart speaker that adapts the sound to space, while adding an intercom-like feature (via Alexa) so you can “talk” to any other room with a compatible device in your house.
The good news about Amazon buying up our favorite plug’n’play router company is that its initial collaboration is a much more affordable, standalone Wifi router that’ll cover 1500 square feet of space for under $100 (though the new product sacrifices a bit of eero’s sleek look).
Wireless earbuds with Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology built in and, of course, Alexa compatibility (and, surprisingly, Siri and Google Assistant as well). “Echo Buds are helpful in so many ways, including shopping,” notes Amazon’s live blog during yesterday’s product launch. “We worked with the Whole Foods team to make this experience really delightful in store. For example, you’ll be able to ask Alexa if Whole Foods has canned tomatoes in stock as well as where you can find canned tomatoes.” Apparently, that’s not enough “wow” for Amazon employees to ditch their AirPods.
You can speak/intercom with people via your phone or Echo device to this battery-powered (or solar-powered) cam, which features 1080p HD video, motion detection and night vision … and works indoors or out.
The company also announced Alexa-powered smart glasses called Echo Frames (no camera or display, thankfully), a smart oven, a smart ring pairs with your smartphone, a plug-in speaker called Flex, the kid-friendly Echo Glow (pretty much a putty-shaped light/timer) and updates to Echo and Echo Show.
Amazon’s own rundown of its new product line is available here.
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