In a briefing to local media this morning we have seen the future, at least what Amazon believes is the future. This includes multiple devices, concepts and additions to existing functionality. As expected, there are new Echo devices but one of the surprises is a rolling robot.
Echo Show 15
As smart screens are becoming more prevalent in our homes, they’re also becoming more central to our lives. Amazon has taken this to a new, bigger level with a wall-mountable 15-inch FHD 1080p smart screen. Carrying all of the features you expect from an Echo device including:
- Access to streaming music: Amazon Music, Spotify and Apple Music
- Streaming video entertainment such as Netflix
- Ring integration for your home security
- Can be used in portrait or landscape
The Show 15 is expected to take centre stage in your smart home while helping you to stay connected and organised. When coupled with some of the new features like a redesigned home screen that is customisable to your needs, while also offering personalisation to every member of your home. This customisation is possible through the new visual ID that works in tandem with voice ID to ensure everyone gets their information when they need it. The Echo Show 15 will be available in Australia early to mid 2022 for AU$399 RRP.
A first entry into personal audio for Amazon with the Echo Buds, on paper, looks solid. Offering a set of features consistent with the current market expectations, including the option to go with wired charging at $169 or — for a $30 premium — wireless charging. The Echo Buds carry 5 hours of charge with a further 15 hours in the case and 15 minutes of charge will give you a further 2 hours of playback.
Of course, the Echo Buds are designed to work with Alexa or can be (Android phone connections only) set up to work with Google Assistant.
They’re said to offer a premium, balanced audio experience with Active Noise Cancellation technology. The microphone setup ensures that your ANC experience is maximised with call quality — for both you and your caller — is clear. The earbuds are water-resistant so they will manage the rigours of daily life, rain and even sweat if you’re out and active. They’re landing in Australia on October 27th.
Astro – Is this the future of our connected lives?
At the moment, the Astro robot is expected to be a US-only device. There is potential it may land in Australia in the future and it’s an interesting proposition. The robot isn’t just about having an Alexa based smart screen follow you: It can look out for you, your loved ones and your home.
With features powered by AI and an array of sensors and technologies that allow you to:
- Log in and check what’s in your walk in pantry
- Check in on a loved one at home
- Have the robot “patrol” your home at night or while you’re away – Requires Ring Protect
- Keeping privacy in mind, you control where your robot can and cant go
- Seek you out to deliver reminders, messages, calls or alarms
As we mentioned, there are no details of an Australian launch to share, but if you want to take a closer look at the mechanical mutt you can visit Amazon’s Astro site.
Alexa continues to grow with new features
Pairing up perfectly with the Echo Show 15 are two new features designed to make the Show 15, not just the centre of your smart home but a family communication hub. Sticky notes make it easy to leave notes for family or reminders for yourself. While it is hardly bleeding edge technology, it does make the screen an easy to access noticeboard for your family.
Finally, there is Household calendar which is the best and easiest way to view and manage your family’s schedule. A single tap gives you access to create appointments for everyone to see. This couples back with the Visual ID mentioned earlier to show the user present their calendar, the shared household calendar and the users own data.
The evolution of smart homes and connected hardware is continuing, how much further can it go?