If you thought Amazon’s smart home ecosystem of products was limited to just the Echo line-up of Alexa enabled smart speakers, you would be very wrong. At its annual launch extravaganza, Amazon has not only updated some of the existing smart devices in its line-up, but also added some new ones. The expected launches include updates to the Echo Dot and the Echo speakers, though the Echo Plus has been skipped this time around. There is also a new Echo Show display, as well as the wireless earbuds that mark Amazon’s entry into this hotly contested gadget space. There are some really cool smart sunglasses too, as well as a ring for you.
Amidst all the excitement, we pick the very best of the new Amazon Alexa capable smart devices that we would love to see in India soon, though these are not on the menu at the moment. But we can always hope, can’t we?
This is the big one. The Apple AirPods competitor. It is priced at $129. The Echo Buds claim to offer five hours of battery life, have touch control sensors, the Alexa virtual assistant is integrated of course and the noise cancellation technology is developed in partnership with Bose. They will ship later this year in some markets, but not India for the moment. The Amazon Echo Buds are the company’s first wireless earbuds product and jumps into the market that already has the Apple AirPods leading by a big margin, with audio brands such as Sennheiser, Sony, Bose and Bang & Olufsen, to name a few, attempting to catch up.
Echo Show 8
The newest addition to the smart display line-up is the Echo Show 8. As the name suggests, this has an 8-inch screen. This means it will sit snugly in the middle of the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Show with the larger 10.1-inch display. It could be a direct competitor to Google’s Nest Hub. The functionality set remains the same as the other Show smart display line-up. This is priced at $129.99 and though it isn’t coming to India immediately, we expect this to come on our shores sometime early next year as Amazon will expand the smart display line-up here as well.
Bose Frames did it, and now Amazon wants to offer even more magic with the Echo Frames. The party piece of these open-ear audio technology sunglasses is the integrated Amazon Alexa capabilities, which mean you can command you sunglasses to set reminders, tell you your calendar entries, listen to the news briefing and even switch on or off the smart lights at home. Amazon also says that you can set a VIP filter to only receive notifications from important contacts on your sunglasses, and not get inundated by a million call and message notifications. This is priced at $249.99 but will be available by invitation for a limited time for $179.99. Unlike the Bose Frames that come in two styles, the Echo Frames are available in only one design.
Now this is a sweet little thing for the kids at home. A part of Amazon’s newly expanded Certified for Humans line-up, this glow lamp can be controlled by any Alexa device. You can change the brightness and colour and there is also a rainbow timer. It can also be used as a wake-up light and there are fun modes such as colour flow or campfire. It just looks incredibly cute and is priced at $29.99 for the moment.
If you would like Alexa to put a ring on you, the Echo Loop is exactly what you must try to get your hands (umm, fingers?) on. This titanium smart ring gives you a single click access to Alexa. You may suddenly remember during your morning walk that you need to add something to reminders—voila, the Echo Loop comes in handy. But the thing is, Amazon says Echo Loop uses your smartphone’s internet connection and the Alexa app for connectivity. This means you really cannot leave your phone behind and the Echo Loop isn’t a standalone device. This is powered by the Realtek RTL8763BO SoC and has a Piezoelectric haptic resonant vibrator. At present, you can get in only by invitation and $129.99 and the Echo Loop is available in multiple sizes—as rings usually do.
Last year we saw a microwave, and this year, it is a smart oven. The Amazon Smart Oven is a 4-in-1 convection oven, microwave, air fryer, and food warmer. This is also a part of the Certified for Humans line-up of simplified smart products. There are more than 30 built-in presets and the complete voice control with Alexa through a compatible Echo device like the included Echo Dot. Amazon says that you can scan select packaged foods with the Alexa app and Amazon Smart Oven will cook them automatically. This is truly the beginning of the smart kitchen. The Amazon Smart Oven is priced at $249.99 at the moment.