From The Practical To The Absurd: Here's Everything From Amazon's 2021 Fall Hardware Event

In the early hours of Wednesday morning for those of us living in Australia, Amazon held its 2021 Fall Hardware Event. But in case you missed it, Amazon announced everything from a tiny home assistant robot through to the more practical partnership with Disney.

This article was first published on September 28. It has since been updated with current information.

From the Fall Hardware Event floor in Seattle to your loungeroom in Australia, here’s everything announced.

The Big Wall-Mountable Echo Is Here

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

The rumours turned out to be true: Amazon just introduced the Echo Show 15, a wall-mountable smart display.

The Echo Show 15 Is The Largest Echo Show Yet. It Packs:

  • A 15.6-inch 1080p display
  • 5-megapixel camera (you can obviously video chat on this thing, too)
  • Customisable smart home Alexa widgets (these are new)
  • It can be mounted vertically or horizontally
  • Visually, it’s similar to the Samsung Frame TV, but a tad smaller
  • It can be used to display photos or art
  • Or your security camera feeds
  • And will also support Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and starting later this year, Sling TV
  • It’s also much more affordable (than the Frame TV) at RRP $399

It’s coming in 2022, but we’ll update you with Australian availability once we know.

Amazon Astro: What If Wall-E But Evil?

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Gif: Amazon

Astro is a tiny home assistant robot that Amazon executives menacingly described during the Fall Hardware Event as “our first robot, not our last,” which makes sense, given that this thing is so small and has so little utility that we likely still have at least three or four increasingly sinister iterations to go until we arrive at the cyborg assassins from Terminator.

“We looked into the future and imagined what it would look like with ambient intelligence,” Kate Burleigh, Amazon Australia country manager of Alexa and Amazon devices said. Astro can even be your companion for the next lockdown, she said.

Amazon predicts every home will have at least one robot. But this one will be connected to Alexa.

Burleigh said it isn’t about price points and availability in Australia, rather sharing the tech. OK. Our U.S. friends can get one for later this year for $US1,500 ($2,074).

Alexa-Powered, Basic Smart Thermostat

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

Amazon today announced an ultra-cheap, ultra-basic, Alexa-powered smart thermostat. Could it be a big competitor to the Nest?

The device does what you’d expect: it mounts to the wall and shows your home’s current temperature.

Its main selling point is that it has Alexa running in the background, which means you can automatically set up routines through the mobile app to adjust the temperature in your smart home.

Amazon describes it as a “smart, affordable Energy Star-certified thermostat that works with Alexa and gives customers a simple way to keep their home comfortable and energy efficient”.

The company worked with Resideo, who make Honeywell Home thermostats, to bring the product to life. This means it should work with most existing 24V HVAC systems.

Its retail price is $US60 (around $80), but Amazon says you can probably get it for as little as $US10 after energy rebates – and in some cases, for “nothing at all”.

We’ll update you with fixed Australian pricing and availability once we know.

First-Ever Doorbell From Blink, Plus Extras

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

Today, Amazon announced Blink Video Doorbell. You might remember Amazon scooped up Blink back in 2017.

What You Can Expect:

  • Starting at around $69
  • Wired or wireless installation (you can add a battery with a two-year life)
  • 1080p HD day and night video
  • Two-way audio
  • Chime app alerts
  • Ability to connect to and sound your existing in-home chime

Amazon and Blink also announced two new devices. The new Blink Floodlight Camera is a battery-powered LED mount that works with Blink Outdoor to deliver a smart floodlight security camera with 700 lumens of motion-triggered lighting. Blink Solar Panel Mount, also launching today, supplies a nonstop sustainable charge from the sun for Blink Outdoor.

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

These two devices offer innovative customisation options, Amazon said.

“With Blink’s collection of smart security cameras, and the new Video Doorbell, Blink’s product lineup covers every area of your home to form an affordable, easy-to-use, and reliable whole home security experience that puts your home right in your hands,” it adds.

Blink Floodlight Camera can be yours for around $55, but you can bundle it for $195.

Blink Solar Panel Mount bundled with Blink Outdoor will start at $180.

Amazon Just Built a Mesh Router Into Its Home Surveillance System

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

The Ring Alarm Pro combines Ring’s traditional security monitoring for things like fires, break-ins, and more with a built-in Wi-Fi 6 router from Eero to create a whole-home security hub that can connect to a wide range of devices.

In addition to a built-in alarm, motion detectors, and the aforementioned Wi-Fi router, Ring is also adding support for local video storage via a built-in microSD card slot, so if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to store security footage in the cloud, you can.

However, for people who want more comprehensive security coverage during emergencies, Amazon is offering a new way to entrench yourself in its cop-friendly private surveillance network: a new subscription security monitoring service called Ring Protect Pro that provides a 24/7 backup internet connection to your devices (both security devices and standard gadgets like laptops) using a cellular data connection, along with another new service called Ring Edge, which allows you to aggregate security footage from all of your connected devices onto the microSD card inside your Ring Alarm Pro.

Australia, We’re getting Echo Buds

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

Australia is finally getting its hands on Echo Buds.

“Hands-free Alexa control on the go,” the company says.

They Boast:

  • 5 hours of music playback
  • 15 minutes charge gets you 2 hours of playback
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Dynamic audio and active noise cancellation (ANC) – speakers deliver crisp, balanced sound
  • Sealed in-ear design and ANC limit background noise
  • All Alexa features

Amazon is taking pre-orders as of this morning, due to ship 17 October.

Standard version will RRP for $169 and the wireless charging case model will RRP for $199.

Amazon, But On Your Wrist

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

The Halo Tracker was another piece of kit Amazon announced this morning during its Fall Hardware Event, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a FitBit.

Halo with three new additions to the Halo family during its Fall Hardware Event: Halo View, a new health tracker with an AMOLED colour display for at-a-glance access to Halo health metrics; Halo Fitness, a new service with hundreds of workout classes; and Halo Nutrition, a new experience to help build healthy eating habits.

Amazon made a big deal about how the original Halo band had no display. The idea behind the tracker was to be less distracting when we’re all addicted to screens. But the display-free band wasn’t all that useful, so Amazon went back to the drawing board and added a screen with super chunky bezels.

Halo View comes bundled with a full year of Halo membership for around $110 and is expected to ship in time for Christmas.

The Portal-Like ‘Glow’ For Kids

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Amazon

Amazon announced a new smart speaker/video chatting thing called Glow. It’s meant for kids to video chat with others who also have with Alexa-enabled devices, but in a controlled environment. It actually kinda looks like a comically large ‘90s-era mobile phone.

During its Fall Hardware Event, Amazon said it “reimagines the way kids can connect with remote family and friends.”

“Glow creates a virtual experience that feels like being together in the same room,” it adds. “Glow blends digital and physical worlds to provide even more fun.”

The Detail, At A Glance:

  • A vertical smartphone display in a giant speaker case
  • 8-inch LCD screen
  • Projects a touch-sensitive area that’s about 19 inches across
  • One-year of Amazon Kids+ (with access to thousands of books and dozens of interactive games and art activities)
  • Kids can share their “virtual space” in real-time using the Amazon Glow app
  • Folks on the other end can use Alexa on an Android or iOS device (Fire OS compatibility coming soon)
  • Object scanning allows kids to turn “everyday objects into digital fun” (think jigsaw puzzle or ‘fixing’ a hand drawn pic)
  • Glow Bits learning kits, which is basically that Tangram puzzle game (expect more ‘Bits’ in the future, sold separately)

Access to Glow is currently invite-only for $345, before the price jacks up to $410. But in addition to the Glow, one-year of Amazon Kids+ and some Tangram Bits, you’ll also get a mat and a mat case.

It will begin shipping in the coming weeks in the U.S., we’ll update you when Australian info becomes available.

Disney Meets Alexa With Hey Disney!

© Provided by Gizmodo Australia Image: Getty

Hey, Disney!, Amazon says, is a “magical voice assistant working alongside Alexa at home and at Walt Disney World Resort”.

Expected next year, Hey, Disney! will let fans and guests interact with some Disney characters by saying ‘Hey, Disney!’ on supported Echo devices.

Not just for kids, it will include interactive Disney storytelling experiences and entertainment, as well as stuff like jokes, fun facts and “special surprises” featuring Disney characters.

Hey, Disney! and Alexa will be available in Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms as part of an upcoming integration using Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality service.

Pricing is unknown just yet, but it’s expected the feature will be available as an Alexa Skill.

Alexa News Channel Comes To Australia And New Zealand

The U.S. has had this for a while, but now it’s coming down under from today.

And there you have it. Everything announced while you were sleeping.

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