Amazon’s hardware launch event this week didn’t have a lot of surprises, but there are some cool upgrades to the company’s existing line of tablets, streaming devices, Echo speakers and fitness trackers. Several of the items announced are also available for pre-order, and pretty much everything was designed for increased use with Alexa’s voice controls.
A few highlights:
Alexa Voice Remote Pro Gets Customized
Besides adding a voice-activated remote finder and backlist buttons, Amazon’s smart remote now has two customizable buttons that can be used for one-touch shortcuts not just for Fire TV, but also smart home or Alexa Routines. Available Nov. 16.
Halo Rise Is an Interesting Bedside Sleep Tracker
An actual new and not just updated device, Amazon’s Halo Rise is the rare sleep tracker that doesn’t require you to wear or put on anything. Instead, the Rise sits at your bedside and utilizes both low-energy sensor technology and machine learning to sense respiration and movement patterns to determine your sleep stages throughout the night. While you’ll need a membership and an app to access everything Halo (and its other products) offer, this new tracker also doubles as a digital clock, wake-up light, a small alarm speaker and environmental sensor. And, obviously, it’s Alexa-compatible. One drawback? It’s not available yet for pre-order.
You Can Now Write With Your Kindle Scribe
Amazon’s premium e-reader now allows you to jot down notes and fill out documents. The Scribe features a 10.2-inch Paperwhite display and an included pen that never needs charging. The display is front-lit, and glare-free display and is supposed to feel like reading and writing on paper.
Amazon Echo Dots Now Double as Wifi Extenders
Echo Dots, those tiny little Alexa-based spheres, now offer a lot of conveniences — besides improved sound, new tap gesture controls, better dot display and a new temperature sensor, it’s now a wifi extender that’ll add can add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to your existing eero mesh network.
The Echo Show 15 Went from Smart Display to TV
While not a new device, the 15.6″ mounted Echo Show 15 is getting a software update that can turn the touchscreen display into a Fire TV experience (if you wish — possibly not the best way to watch The Rings of Power). Want an actual television screen experience? There are also new 65″ and 75″ Fire TVs available for pre-order.
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