Amazon’s September Echo occasion: What we count on from Ring and Alexa

Amazon's September Echo event: What we expect from Ring and Alexa

Amazon’s 2021 fall Echo occasion is occurring Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. PT. Amazon will not be livestreaming its invite-only presentation to most of the people, however the firm has promised attendees “information about our newest Amazon gadgets, options and providers”, in keeping with invites that went out Sept. 20. 

We’re anticipating information throughout all of Amazon’s machine and providers classes, however what precisely will or not it’s? The most effective indicator could also be what we noticed from the tech big in earlier occasions. 

Amazon gadgets 

In years previous, Amazon has unleashed actually dozens of latest gadgets at its occasions, huge and small. From the Echo Auto to the rotating Echo Present 10 to that odd Echo Wall Clock. After all, new Echo Dots and Echo audio system are sometimes the centerpiece. With such a variety of merchandise, it is anybody’s guess as to what solely new additions we’d see. 

Two Echo Dots — together with Dot with Clocks — might be linked on the Alexa app to make a stereo pair.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Echo updates

As for updates to present gadgets, that is a bit extra predictable. Final yr’s occasion introduced the redesign of the Echo and Echo Dot. There is a new speaker or two virtually yearly, and it would not shock us if this yr was the identical. Nevertheless, these spherical audio system aren’t even a yr outdated as of this writing (they launched Oct. 22 of final yr), so we’re curious if Amazon is already planning to launch a second technology.

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The Echo Studio’s final launch was in 2019. 


Amazon

The Echo Studio is on the highest of our listing of gadgets which are due a refresh. It has been two years because the final Echo Studio, with no main updates save for a Billie Eilish collaboration for a particular version. In Amazon product years that is… quite a bit.

The Echo Studio barely matches the aesthetic of the newer Echo audio system. It is going to by no means get the Google Assistant assist of the better-sounding Sonos One, however fixing the annoying Hearth TV requirement for Dolby Atmos film sound could be an interesting improve for customers preferring a special streaming machine. 

As well as, Amazon typically publicizes a handful of Day 1 merchandise — experimental gadgets to measure market curiosity. They’ve ranged from microwaves and clocks to wearable rings and glasses — and so they do not all the time survive lengthy. It is robust to guess what Amazon will check out subsequent, however our guess is an Alexa-enabled rubbish can (hey, a method of understanding what is going on into a house is monitoring what’s persistently going out of it).

Alexa 

Alexa can also be prone to see some updates. Final yr the Echo Present received Netflix and assist for group calling. A concentrate on options that assist distant work, like teleconferencing and productiveness administration, could be well timed and on model.

Amazon rolls out new Alexa options virtually weekly and introduced a slew of Alexa updates at its annual builders convention, Alexa Stay, together with the Amazon Customized Assistant Program that enables third events to create their very own assistants utilizing Alexa’s blueprint. Verizon already jumped on on the likelihood, saying the Verizon Good Show and the choice to say, “Hey, Verizon.” What new Alexa options will likely be introduced on the annual occasion is hard to name, however we may see first-party options just like the celeb voices from a number of years again. 


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Matter still matters

One reminder: Matter is still on the smart home horizon. Formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), Matter will be a single, IP-based, open-source standard that works over Wi-Fi and supports all major control platforms. It’s supposed to act as a universal language that smart home devices from makers like Google, Apple and Amazon could use to connect with and understand each other. 

Read moreMake way for Matter, the smart home’s would-be skeleton key

At Alexa Live, Amazon announced plans to integrate Matter into nearly all Echo devices (excluding first-gen speakers) via an over-the-air update. Amazon had slated the software development kit for release late this year, but it has since been pushed to 2022. We’ll be keeping our ears open for any news of Matter progress at the Tuesday event.

Ring is Amazon’s big brand to watch this fall for three reasons: first, Amazon still seems likely to launch its Always Home Cam — the flying drone camera everyone was buzzing about last year — sometime in Q4.

Second, Ring is now over three years into its partnership with Amazon (the tech behemoth bought the video doorbell company in 2018), which means some substantive integrations with Alexa and other Amazon devices and services might finally be coming down the pike.

Finally, Ring has been contending with all sorts of privacy controversies over the past year, especially with regard to relationships with police. Those need to be addressed. Let’s break down what each of these three things means for Ring this coming week.

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The Always Home Cam is a security drone from Ring, yet to be released. 


Amazon

Always Home Cam

It’s doubtful that Ring has been waiting for a big event like this to announce that it’s pushing back the launch of the Always Home Cam — that sort of thing is usually slipped into a Friday press release weeks before an event, to be forgotten over the weekend. Ring hasn’t discussed any updates to the Always Home Cam publicly but we still expect some sort of announcement about the drone cam’s launch. 

Partnerships with Amazon

Amazon’s footprint has been expanding rapidly in people’s homes in recent years. You’ve got Wi-Fi with Eero, security with Ring and Blink, smart home devices with Alexa and outside-the-home network sharing with Sidewalk — not to mention a menagerie of other types of products like the Echo Auto and Amazon Key. Almost all of these devices and services have been connected somehow to Amazon shopping, from letting you buy paper towels with a voice command to recording a livestream of their delivery.

Expect this web of integrations to thicken this year — especially ahead of 2022, when Matter drops. The more Amazon can control and organize your home security, smart home devices and more under one umbrella, the more useful data it gets from you, and the more consistent it can make the experience of living in an Amazon-powered home.

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The Ring Doorbell 4 is the latest model. 


Chris Monroe/CNET

Privacy

It seems every year David Limp, Amazon senior vice president of devices and services, takes on a serious air to talk about privacy — and how Amazon is doing everything it can to protect yours.

This year is likely to be no different, especially on the heels of a particularly fraught 2020 and 2021 for Ring, which finally made its procedures regarding video-sharing with police more transparent earlier this year. If Ring hasn’t dropped its police partnerships thus far, it probably won’t in the future. But that doesn’t mean the company isn’t going to try to introduce some security and privacy-facing features (like expanding its video encryption options or Neighbors app constraints).

It’s unclear what this is going to look like exactly, but we’ll be keeping an ear out for any info on the privacy front. 

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