Amazon has set a date for its next big devices and services event. If previous years are anything to travel by, we will expect new Echo and Ring hardware alongside potentially a couple of surprises. The event will begin at 9 am PT (noon ET) on Tuesday, September 28, and like last year’s, it’ll be online-only.
Last year Amazon didn’t twiddle my thumbs on new smart home hardware. Besides the new Echo Show 10, which could rotate under its power to face the person interacting, Amazon also had a replacement, spherical Echo smart speaker.
The smaller Echo Dot – and its Echo Dot with Clock sibling – offered a lower cost point, and therefore the new Echo Dot Kids Edition dressed that up in additional playful designs. As for Ring, we saw the Ring Car Alarm debut, plus the promise of end-to-end video encryption. Amazon also announced a collaboration with Tesla, with the Ring Car Connect for the automaker’s EVs.
Elsewhere, the Eero Pro 6 and Eero 6 added WiFi 6 to the familiar mesh networking, while the hearth TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite began pricing at under $30. Amazon also introduced Luna, its cloud gaming service, complete with a passionate wireless controller.
Just as much a showcase for hardware, though, Amazon’s events became demonstrations for its software changes. Of course, Alexa typically plays a key part therein – last year, we saw group calling support, Netflix on Echo Show, and interactive teaching tools – but it’s also a chance to ascertain what developer tools and enhancements are introduced.
Finally, it’s an opportunity for Amazon to surprise. Last year, that meant the Ring Always Home Cam – a flying camera drone that promised automated patrols of your house – through the gadget remains yet to launch commercially truly.
By 2021, we’ll likely see refreshes of Amazon’s core Echo range. After all, with the vacations approaching, that’s a key opportunity for Amazon to place more smart speakers in users’ homes – and double-down on their commitment to Alexa as a platform, instead of the Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. The new Amazon-branded Fire TV range could even be expanded.
We’ll probably also hear more about the controversial Amazon Sidewalk, the shared neighborhood network that Amazon opted to enable by default earlier within the year.
On the “weird tech” side, that would rather be the rumored wall-mounted Echo touchscreen. Billed as an in-wall smart home hub, it might help position Alexa as a key way of interacting with the connected home and IoT if the rumors are believed.