Amazon turns up the heat on Google and Apple with a wide array of new devices.
Amazon’s hardware unveiling took place yesterday in Seattle. Here is what they released:
Echo Buds — Earbuds with Bose noise suppression, powered by Alexa.
Echo Frames — $180 eyeglass frames with microphone built in, enabling you to issue voice commands without touching your phone.
Echo Loop — a ring (for your finger) with a microphone and haptic feedback. Again, you can speak to Alexa on your hand without having to touch your phone.
Echo Speaker — a revamp of the former Echo, with a better speaker components and, consequently, sound quality.
Echo Studio — an Echo that is packed with a high quality woofer, tweeter and midrange speakers, designed for 3D sound for those that want good sound in a compact form factor.
Echo Show 8 — an 8 inch diagonal screen Echo Show for those that agree that bigger is better.
Echo Dot Clock — a Dot with a digital clock on one side.
Echo Glow — a globe-like lamp that changes colors and dims or brightens based on alarms.
New Eero — this is the Wi-Fi range extender/mesh network that is a nice way of covering your house with Wi-Fi, if you don’t mind several devices sitting out on tabletops, or tucked into cabinets.
Two new Ring cameras — a stick up version that can run on battery, solar or outlet power, and a plain indoor camera powered by outlet power.
Sidewalk — a new protocol at 900 Mhz (free spectrum) that has better range than Bluetooth.
Alexa Enhancements — some improvements include multi-lingual modes, emotion detection, privacy enhancements, and more Alexa hunches — applications that anticipate what you will be doing around the house based on history, and when you are likely to run out of supplies. Wired
dis-rup-shun: Clearly some of these interesting new product categories, particularly the Echo Loop and Echo Frames, are not likely to be the next must have holiday items, but the innovation is impressive. How to crack the code of Amazon’s strategy? It is clear that the company believes that it can be a very formidable hardware maker, and, unlike Apple, which expects perfection with every product, is willing to launch a few albatrosses. Perhaps the most interesting release is not hardware, but the “Hunches” applications which use machine learning to understand your household sufficiently to set the right temperature, lighting, and music and tell you when you are nearly out of toilet paper. If a device maker has not already offered Alexa support, they better hurry before their product is not compatible with an Alexa-powered home. If a company has already provided support for Alexa, there is no peace of mind, as Amazon could well reinvent that product category and make the partner’s product obsolete.