Amazon’s latest smart home devices: From a wandering security robot to inexpensive Alexa thermostat

Technology

Amazon’s new gadgets expand Alexa into even more facets of life. The company says its goal is to make ambient computing a reality. This is when your gadgets are so smart, they begin to think for us and make decisions based on our preferences. This could be something as simple as changing the temperature in the room at night or turning on the lights in the morning.

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“In this paradigm, AI is all around you… it’s constantly adapting to you, it understands the state of your environment and your preferences, and helps you when you need it,” said David Limp of Amazon.

Here’s a rundown of some of the gadgets Amazon announced.

Echo Show 15, $250

This is a giant Echo Show display that’s meant to be mounted on a wall. It can recognize your face and show your personalized calendar, package delivery updates and lets you leave sticky notes for family members. It’s the new family corkboard.

Amazon Glow, $250 for early buyers

Amazon Glow is a video chat device for kids. It has a screen and a projector, so friends and family can play games and interact in the touch sensitive projection space.

Amazon showed off examples of video chatting while completing an interactive puzzle across the miles.

“It’s not passive screentime… it’s collaborative and interactive and it lets kids be kids,” said Courtney Holoszyc, who leads Amazon’s Kids devices division.

Amazon Smart Thermostat, $60

Smart thermostats can cost twice this price. Amazon’s looks super simple to use and has Alexa built in, so it can learn your heating and cooling preferences and adjust accordingly.

This device can pay for itself through utility company rebates and energy savings. Plus, the fact that it easily fits into the Alexa ecosystem many people already have in their homes makes it a guaranteed winner.

“It’s this intelligence and the affordable thermostat and it’s just one of the ways Amazon is trying to help customers live more sustainable,” said Limp.

Halo View, $80

This is Amazon’s Fitbit style wrist band, but this time around it has a color touchscreen.

It will track metrics including sleep, activity, and heart rate. There are also new video fitness classes as part of the membership, which is included free for a year.

Ring

Ring introduced a bunch of new products including a pro version of its alarm for job sites. The company also says its flying security camera is real. This drone like device can fly from room to room in your house to give you a look at any trouble spots. You can now request an invite only application to spend $250 to be among the first to have this unique security drone in your home.

Also interesting, Ring is adding an option for virtual security guards to watch over your camera feeds. The feature is called Ring Virtual Security Guard and it currently works with their wired cameras. The guards are triggered when there is a motion event. They can review the livestream and intervene or send help if necessary. It’s like a service we covered from a startup called Deep Sentinel. Monitoring is a whopping $99 a month.

Astro

Astro is a robot that follows you around the house as sort of a digital assistant and security guard.

The robot can help you keep an eye on your home or help you keep tabs on loved ones across the miles. It has a screen for watching shows and listening to music, plus various sensors, and a telescoping camera.

“We’ve embodied it with a unique persona that is all its own… from adding eyes to the display to a whole host of sounds. The device really comes alive,” said Limp.

While Astro can’t exactly help with household chores just yet, this could be the beginning of a new realm of helpful robots in the home. Or it could fall flat, and we’ll never hear about it again.

Astro is $1,000 for early adopters before the price settles in at $1,500.

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