Amazon today announced the launch of its fourth-generation Echo speaker, which features a new spherical design and improved sound performance thanks to a three-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters, and new Dolby processing.
The $100 fabric-covered speaker comes in three colors, including black, blue, and white, and it’s accompanied by a built-in smart home hub with Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Amazon Sidewalk integration. Amazon Sidewalk extends the range of devices like the Ring and includes support for Tile devices.
The new Echo is equipped with an AZ1 Neural Edge processor that moves speech recognition on-device for faster than ever response times to requests.
Alongside the new sphere-shaped Echo, there’s a spherical Echo Dot that’s priced at $50 and a kid’s version that comes with animal face designs and is priced at $60, along with an updated $250 Echo Show that has the same AZ1 neural processor plus a 10-inch display, the ability to pivot, and a 13-megapixel camera.
A Guard Plus feature, priced at $4.99 per month, allows Alexa devices to listen for sounds like footfalls or doors opening and closing and it can play fake sounds like a dog barking to scare off intruders. Amazon also unveiled Alexa Care Hub, a feature designed to let users monitor a family member’s home.
There are new Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 WiFi 6 mesh systems available, and for Ring, Amazon is adding end-to-end encryption for videos. A new Ring Car Alarm is meant to be plugged into the car’s OBD-II port and it includes built-in sirens and sensors to monitor for car theft.
A Ring Car Cam is Amazon’s new in-car security solution, and it too includes a siren and emergency crash assist functionality. The Ring Car Alarm is priced at $60, while the Ring Car Cam is priced at $200.
Also new in the Ring family is the $250 Always Home Cam, which is a drone-based security system that can fly to different places in the house from a home dock. It basically flies around the house on pre-set paths, recording while in motion.
Amazon introduced an updated $40 Fire TV Stick with HDR, Dolby Atmos Support, and an Alexa Remote, plus there’s a Lite version that has a simplified remote for $30. To compete with Apple Arcade and other streaming gaming services, Amazon’s final announcement was Luna, a game streaming service.
Luna works cross-platform on Macs, PCs, Fire TV, smartphones, and tablets, and it will be compatible with Apple devices, according to Amazon, because it is designed to be a web app and is not subject to Apple’s rules.
Luna will be priced at $5.99 per month, and Amazon has designed the Luna Controller, to go along with it. The $50 controller has “cloud direct technology” to cut down on latency, essentially connecting the controller directly to Amazon’s servers.