Astro robot incoming! Amazon held its annual fall hardware event yesterday, using that time to announce everything from new Echo devices to an Alexa-powered robot. Really, a robot. There was also a lot said about the Halo fitness band but you're still thinking about the robot, aren't you?
The robot is called Astro. It can move around your home with three primary functions in life - to provide home security, check in on your loved ones and pets, and provide Alexa functionality wherever it goes - it's basically a smart speaker (opens in new tab) on wheels. It's predictably cute looking and features a periscope camera that means it can expand its field of view beyond floor level. By doing so, it can check on sleeping pets, check your stovetop looks safe and so forth. Via Ring's Protect Pro subscription service, you can also program it to patrol your home, keeping a virtual ear out for smoke alarms or breaking glass.
It sounds simultaneously impressive and a little unsettling so Amazon has also bundled in a do not disturb mode so you can limit how much Astro does, as well as set out-of-bounds zones if you don't fancy waking up to its presence. The future? Maybe. Astro will only be sold in limited quantities at first and will cost $999.99 with the price rising to $1,499.99 eventually.
Beyond the Astro robot
A little more conventionally, Amazon also unveiled the Amazon Echo Show 15. The 15.6-inch 1080p display is effectively a huge version of the Echo Shows we see elsewhere. The idea is that you mount it somewhere like your kitchen so everyone can check in on the day easily. It has a redesigned home screen that makes Alexa widgets more prominent and useful, plus its camera means it's easy to use for significant video calls. There will also be a new feature that will adjust the contents of the home screen according to which face it recognizes so each household member gets a more personalized experience. It'll cost $250 when it launches later this year.
There's also the Halo View fitness band, Amazon's attempt at taking on Fitbit. It's a new improved version of the Halo wearable and offers an AMOLED color display. It can track your heart rate, skin temperature, steps and more. Just what you would expect from a fitness tracker but it should be pretty cheap at $80 when it launches. In conjunction, there's also Halo Fitness and Halo Nutrition which is part of a yearly $80 Halo subscription and Amazon's take on Apple Fitness+. It offers personalized recipes and meal planning alongside fitness workouts.
Keen for more? There are also improvements to Amazon's Ring side of things with the Ring Alarm Pro security system including Eero Mesh Wi-Fi integration plus a new $50 video doorbell from Blink. Finally, there's Glow, a teleconferencing display that's aimed at kids. It includes a projector that can create a 19-inch touch-sensitive playspace for games and activities that are included with the device. It will cost $249.99 when it launches in the coming weeks.
Expect to see many of the products announced by Amazon to launch in the coming months with Halo Nutrition launching at the start of 2022. It seems likely Amazon will be keen to entice the holiday purchase crowd into acquiring some new gadgets hence the many introductory prices so far.