Tech

Amazon event recap: New Echos, Kindle Scribe, Halo Rise, Ring cameras and more

Amazon’s annual product launch has wrapped up, and we’ve seen new products from various brands like Ring, Echo, Fire, Halo and Kindle, with the word ‘Alexa’ woven throughout for basically every product too.

If you’re a fan of Amazon devices, then, this was a pretty big day for you. There was even an update on the elusive Amazon Astro robot, with plenty of clever new features promised for the home helper, and some updates to existing products too.

Now that the event has wrapped up, we can get our head around all the big announcements from the hour-long live stream:

  • The new Amazon Kindle Scribe was announced, bringing a stylus, a large 10.2-inch display and a huge 64GB storage variant to the ereader line.
  • The Amazon Halo Rise is the first non-smartwatch member of Amazon’s Halo fitness line, and it’s a bedside-table gadget that can monitor your sleep, provide advice to improve your napping and also wakes you up with a gentle light that simulates daylight.
  • We’ve got several new Ring security cameras and devices; the Spotlight Cam Pro uses radar to improve motion detection (and it comes in standard and solar-powered versions), while the Spotlight Cam Plus is a redesigned Spotlight Camera (with some features of the Pro) and the Ring Alarm Panic Button is a… well, the name gives it away, doesn’t it?
  • An update to some existing Echo devices, which will also apply to the ones announced at the event, turns them into devices that can boost your home Wi-Fi signal, letting you get better connectivity if you struggled before.
  • There’s a new fifth-gen Amazon Echo Dot that has clearer sound and improved bass, improvements which will benefit music fans. There’s also a new Echo Dot with clock, and two new Kids’ Edition versions, one of which has an owl on the front and the other which has a purple dragon.
  • A new Amazon Fire TV Cube is here too, and it can upscale 1080p video to 4K, as well as support Alexa voice command, and it comes with a second HDMI port and also an ethernet port too (which presumably you won’t need with the Echo Wi-Fi signal booster update).

So that’s quite a bit of tech. But the articles won’t stop – now we’ve seen all of Amazon’s new devices, we’ll be able to work on some analysis an opinion pieces to help you dive deeper into the announcements.

Also, for big fans, you should know that we followed the event live as it happened, from hours before it started until… well, hours afterwards. Here’s our recap of the whole thing as it happened.

Welcome to our Amazon September launch event live blog!

If you’re reading this when it’s been posted, there’s still half a day until the Amazon event kicks off, so you don’t need to start scrambling to find the live stream link just yet. In fact, at the time of writing this post, one isn’t even available online yet.

But perhaps it’s worth telling your speaker ‘Alexa, set an alarm for [whenever the event is in your time zone]’ so you don’t miss it.

The Echo Dot sitting on a table next to a water bottle and a yoga mat.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Let’s start with Echos. Amazon hasn’t confirmed any specific devices that are coming at this event, but based on it being an “Alexa and Ring” event, we can probably take a wild guess and get pretty close.

Echos look doubly likely because it’s been two years since they were last updated, at a fall 2020 event. Amazon unveiled the Echo 4th Gen and Echo Dot 4th Gen together, both sporting a new rounder design.

This came one year after the Echo 3rd Gen was revealed, so a two-year gap is actually slightly longer than expected. Although there aren’t a lot of obvious things to fix and improve at this point – we surely expect better audio quality, and some improvements to Alexa itself, but where else will Amazon go?

Self-calibrating sound for the environment, perhaps? More advanced on-device processing so less stuff needs to go to the cloud? A return to a subtler design? All these seem likely, but Amazon is also good at adding surprises…

Ring Stick Up Cam

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring products are obviously the other big thing we’re all-but guaranteed to see, given that Amazon put it right in the name of the event. The last Ring Video Doorbells came out in 2021, so it’s possible that Amazon has an update for us there – although last year the focus really seemed to be on making them cheaper rather than adding new features, and the company achieved that well with the Ring Video Doorbell Wired. But still, it’s possible there’ll be replacement for the Ring Video Doorbell 4.

But Ring has other products too, and maybe that’s where we’ll see some expansion. The Ring Stick Up Cam (picture above) was announced in 2019, for example, so maybe we might some some new security camera options. Or maybe a new version or add-on for the Ring Alarm system.

Maybe we’ll hear more about the Ring Always Home drone camera, which remains invite-only, despite being unveiled a year ago.

Amazon Astro home robot

(Image credit: Amazon)

Hey, remember Astro? Amazon’s little robot that’s like an Echo Show and a security camera in one self-mobile package? Which was announced last year and then suddenly disappeared from the world when reports came out that it would “almost certainly throw itself down a flight of stairs if presented the opportunity”, despite Amazon rubbishing those claims at the time?

Maybe we’ll see its return after a year of very patiently teaching its adorable face the difference between the edge of a door frame and the edge of the stairs. Perhaps it will even come with some extra features compared to the original announcement, thought it’s not like there’s anything else like it on the market yet, so even if it’s totally unchanged other than being more sensible, it’ll still stand out.

Amazon Blink Outdoor mounted on a wall

(Image credit: Amazon / Blink)

Don’t forget that Amazon also owns the Blink smart home brand, which tends to focus on simpler and more affordable options when it comes to security setups. Amazon didn’t explicitly mention Blink in the invitation to its event in the same way that it did for Ring, but that doesn’t mean the company won’t make an appearance.

Blinks last big releases – the Blink Indoor camera and Blink Outdoor camera – were in late 2020, so they certainly feel ripe for an update. Those models aren’t massively lacking in modern features, so it’s not like they’re hanging on for dear life, but two years is out normal for smart home products to get refreshed and modernized. 

Perhaps Blink will just look at keeping the same kind of specs but will bring the price down lower – that’s a tempting option right now during a cost-of-living crisis. It’s what Apple largely did with the Apple Watch SE 2, and we liked that.

Echo Show 8 on table

(Image credit: Amazon)

One this we probably won’t see much of today is Echo Show devices. The Amazon Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 both got updated last year, as did the Echo Show 10 with cool rotating screen, and Amazon introduced the picture-frame-size Echo Show 15.

It’s totally possible that Amazon has a small update in the works, or a new size and shape of Echo Show, but overall we’re not expecting much: it feels like the world is already doing fine for Echo Shows, doesn’t it?

A fun surprise might be return of the Echo Spot – but we’re certainly wouldn’t put money on it. The Echo Show 5 probably fills that role for most people, and feels like bigger is generally where the trend is going for the best smart displays.

amazon luna

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon has also said that it’ll talk services at this event, and that could mean any number of things. That covers Alexa, for example, and we think it’s likely that there will be improvements to what the voice assistant can do, and how well it can hold natural conversations.

But it also means the likes of Prime Video, Amazon Music HD, Amazon’s Luna game streaming service, Audible, Kindle features such as Prime Reading… the list goes on.

And it includes Amazon Prime itself, which collects many of these services, and includes its own bonuses.

We haven’t seen any major rumors for new things to expect from Amazon in terms of services, but there could be any number of improvements. Perhaps some new freebies added to Prime just in time for Amazon Prime Day 2 to tempt people in? Seems plausible.

We’ve also seen that Dolby Vision HDR support is starting to be added to Amazon Prime Video, so perhaps we’ll hear more about that. 

Amazon’s Luna game streaming service is probably the one with the most potential that isn’t being realized yet, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see announcement about more games coming to it, and better controller support, particularly on Amazon Fire TV devices.

Amazon Fire 8 2018

(Image credit: Amazon)

US EIC Lance Ulanoff hopping in for a bit to add some tablet color.

Amazon just released a quad of new affordable Fire HD 8 tablets, which means the possibility of new ones at this sprawling Amazon event could mean only one thing: a march back into the high-end tablet space.

It’s been years since Amazon went toe-to-toe with Apple and Samsung in the tablet arena with its line of Amazon Fire HDX tabs. These days, Amazon sells good tablets with decent but not cutting-edge specs to people on a budget (which is most of us). 

Its tablets have been so cheap that Amazon has sold the small ones as a six pack.

Whatever tablet news we get today, though, will not be that. There are no real rumors to work off of here, but this may be a further realization of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s tablet strategy of “Premium products at non-premium prices.”

In other words, Amazon could push the envelope on specs, making the Fire tablet line (possibly “Fire Pro”) thinner and lighter but with better materials, like aluminum. It could introduce high-end cameras and a much more powerful CPU, all while beating the competition on price.

There is also a possibility of a repositioning of the tablet business to make them more integrated with Echos and the Alexa ecosystem. Such a services/support move is not unprecedented.

Years ago, Amazon launched its MayDay live customer service on its high-end tablets. With it, you could get a real Amazon support rep on the screen to help you walk through difficult tablet tech issues. Now we have Alexa. Perhaps Alexa will take on new tablet and product support roles via your favorite Amazon tablet.

Amazon Fire TV

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Fire TV line, which includes TVs, streaming hardware, and the platform, could be in for a host of necessary updates.

I went to Al Griffin, our esteemed Senior Editor for Home Entertainment, who walked me through a slew of potential (read “necessary”) updates Amazon could bring to these lines.

While I think there’s a chance Amazon will redesign some of its streaming hardware to make it look, well, a little more friendly (a new Fire TV Cube is a real possibility), Al reminds me that the company just expended some serious effort on updating its aging streaming platform. In other words, don’t expect much from Amazon’s streaming hardware and software.

Unless you’re talking about TVs.

It can be easy to forget that Amazon now sells its own line of Fire TV sets and Al had a whole bunch of suggestions.

“They could add 120Hz, VRR. ALLM for gaming on the higher-end Omni series. Also, a full-array LED backlight, or even a mini-LED one to improve brightness and black uniformity,” Al told me.

What most of this means is that Amazon might move the technology of its affordable sets to more ably compete against TVs from, say, Samsung or LG. I’m not saying Amazon’s Fire TV sets will suddenly be in the same class, but if they offer some of the same features at a much better price, that could provide some real competition for the big TV names.

Amazon Echo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Hang on. It looks like the Amazon Event has sprung a major leak.

Leaker Twitter account SnoopyTech just spilled a load of potential Amazon product information. It is a lot and we caution you to take everything with a heap of salt because there is no confirmation from Amazon (naturally) and we’re just about 60 minutes away from learning the official news on all these Amazon gadgets.

Let’s start with the most mind-blowing. SnoopyTech claims Amazon is queueing up a 10.2-inch Amazon Kindle Scribe. It’s a giant E Ink Kindle with inking capabilities. If you’ve ever seen a ReMarkable tablet, you know exactly what this is. 

See more

It rather looks like a giant Kindle Oasis, but with a pen. Mobile Deputy Editor Tom Bedford has more details here.

There’s also some information on a rumored Echo Dot 5th generation that isn’t remotely surprising. It appears to have different colors, including one he calls “dark blue,” but we’re gonna say is “purple” because that’s the color of 2022.

See more

More interesting is the possible redesigned Amazon Fire TV Cube. With the wraparound fabric mesh (which probably hides a big speaker), it does look friendlier. SnoopyTech thinks it might be gaming platform Luna-compatible.

There’s also a bit about a new Alexa Voice Remote “with speakers.” It’s not clear if SnoopyTech means speakers in the remote or that it ships with a pair of speakers.

All-in-all, this might be a massive leak, but it also might be off base. We think the former is more likely.

Amazon event

(Image credit: Future)

We’re less than 10 minutes from the start of Amazon’s Smart Home event. 

Remember, we expect updates for Echos, Fire Tablets, Fire TV sets, services, a robot, and more. 

The rumors now point to at least one new device (a stylus-friendly E Ink Kindle), but there should be so much more.

The services side could offer some surprises. it usually does.

Stay tuned

Okay, here we go! We’re actually watching from Amazon’s London HQ, where we’ll have the chance to ask any burning questions in the follow-up. At the moment, we’re watching a kitty push a Ring doorbell to ask to be let in.

Amazon Kindle Scribe

(Image credit: Future)

We’re starting with Kindle. There’s a new device named Kindle Scribe, as predicted in the leaks. It’s the first Kindle you can write on with a stylus – perfect for students and business, it looks like.

The world’s first 10.2-inch 300ppi front-lit e-ink display. Amazon says it designed the whole thing to feel as close to pen on paper as possible. There’s a dedicated eraser and shortcut button on the stylus.

You can write on virtual sticky notes in books, then look through a central notes section, and selecting the note would take you straight back to the page it relates to. You can load documents from email, and soon you’ll be able to load them to it directly from Microsoft Word.

And there’ll be weeks of battery life.

Amazon Kindle Scribe

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Kindle Scribe

(Image credit: Future)

Kindle Scribe is available to pre-order today, and it costs $339.99 with stylus included – it’ll be out “in time for the holidays”.

Amazon is talking a lot about “Ambient Intelligence” today. It says that this means products should be “intuitive”, “proactive”, and “personalized”. “Technology working in the background, distraction-free”, they say. Apparently, nearly 90% of Alexa routines are run without the user saying anything. Amazon did not specify if anyone there is worried about this being a sign of The Singularity.

Amazon Halo Rise

(Image credit: Future)

Halo Rise is a bedside sleep tracker, wake-up light and smart alarm all in one. Amazon says it wants to help improve people’s sleep-life balance. No need to wear a tracker – it uses built-in sensors and machine learning to judge you sleep stages throughout the night.

It will only track whoever’s closest to the device – it’ll ignore other people and pets. It also has environmental sensors to detect temperature, humidity and light, so you can cross reference these factors with when you sleep badly.

It’ll start waking you up at the best moment in your sleep cycle, to avoid you feeling groggy in the morning.

Amazon Halo Rise wakeup

(Image credit: Future)

There’s the promise of lots of privacy options. You can turn off the sensors at any time, and data is encrypted on the device and in the cloud (though it wasn’t specified whether Amazon has the decryption key or not).

Amazon Halo Rise

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Halo Rise

(Image credit: Future)

The graph showing your sleep stages look extremely similar to what you get from the Apple Watch in iOS 16 and watchOS 9.

Amazon Halo Rise sleep stages

(Image credit: Future)

Halo Rise will cost $139.99, available later this year.

Now onto Echo. Starting with Echo Studio, which is getting a new ‘Glacier White’ color option. More importantly, it’s getting updated new spatial audio processing for better 360 audio, and more dynamic extension to improve the positioning of sounds. $199.99 – but the upgrades are coming to current model.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, leaked by Twitter user SnoopyTech

(Image credit: SnoopyTech (Twitter))

Now onto Echo Dot. The 5th Gen version will be $49.99, or $59.99 for the version with clock – pre-order today.

It promises twice the bass, and distortion reduced by up to 50%, both thanks to a redesigned audio setup. This should all mean you can crank it up a little further and still get sound that’s clear.

Echo Dot with Clock can now show other information on the screen – artist name, a calendar event, or alarm snooze countdown.

There’s also an accelerometer, so you can slap to the top to pause or stop an alarm. There’s also a temperature sensor, so it could turn your smart fan on automatically.

Amazon is also introducing Eero in Echo. Each Echo can now act as a mesh Wi-Fi extender when used with Eero products, which could save you a lot of cash in a big house. This is also coming to the 4th Gen Echo and Echo Dot, as a nice bonus.

Amazon Echo Dot kids

(Image credit: Future)

There will also be a new Kids’ Edition. The designs are Owl and Dragon, and they’ll cost $59.99.

This holiday season, Alexa is also getting the ability to create stories with kids – on Echo Show, kids can tell stories, and Alexa can help to create visuals that go into it. It sounds fascinating, if the machine learning side of it holds up – these AI image generators can be very cool, or very weird.

There’s a new Echo Auto model too. There’s a new design, and stick design to go anywhere useful in the car. Follow-me Music will transition your music or podcasts seamlessly to the car.

There are enhanced ‘hunches’, so the Echo Auto can warn you if you’ve left the house and left the smart lock on the front door open, and it thinks you were the last one to leave.

You can now say “Alexa, call roadside assistance” to, uh, do that.

The version will cost $54.99.

Amazon Astro updates

(Image credit: Future)

Robots! Amazon says Astro is going very well, despite it largely disappearing from the face of the Earth outside of some invitation-only use.

But it’s talking about Alexa Together, which uses Alexa (and potentially Astro) to help caregivers and people who need assistance to stay in touch.

Astro will now be able to learn from you about objects in your home. You can tell Astro that a door should be left closed, and if Astro is patrolling your home and sees the door is open, it can tell you with a notification that it was left open.

Just imagine, you can yell at the kids for leaving their toys out without even being home! Magic.

Astro will also be able to recognize your pets, and can tell you what they’re doing. But not what they’re thinking. More’s the pity.

Amazon Astro detecting dog

(Image credit: Future)

Astro is going to get a development kit for outside creations. At first, it’s going to robotics schools, to expand the ideas of what it can do.

Astro can also now work with professional Ring security, where Astro responds automatically to possible intrusions, and a virtual security guard reviews its footage and decides whether to respond.

The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro being charged by a solar panel.

(Image credit: Amazon)

New Ring Spotlight Cam Pro features a radar and 3D mapping feature, so that you can get very specific about what parts of the outdoors you actually want to monitor, and you can see top-down views of where people have walked on or near your property. Here’s our full story.

Amazon Blink Mini am tilt accessory

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also the Blink Mini Pan Tilt, which is $29.99, and adds onto the Blink Mini camera. It means you can see 360° in any room by controlling the angle remotely using the Blink app

There will also be the Blink Wired Floodlight camera for $99.99, available later this year.

Amazon Eero PoE 6

(Image credit: Future)

This pace is ridiculous! So many products! Next is the Eero PoE 6, which is a power-over-ethernet access point, if that’s your sort of thing. It’ll cost $299.

Eero products will also now get Eero Internet Backup. If there’s a home network outage, you can specify a phone or hotspot that has cellular signal, and your home network will piggyback on that and keep your whole home network up and running, until your main connection is restored. Then it’ll switch back automatically.

Amazon Echo Show 15 on a kitchen wall

(Image credit: Future)

This is nice – Echo Show 15 devices are getting Fire TV, turning them into real video devices, with an interface designed specifically for that, rather than video being crammed into the Echo Show experience.

Amazon new Fire TV cube Wi-Fi 6e support

(Image credit: Future)

New Fire TV Cube is coming, with octa-core processor for super fast and slick navigation. Apparently, it will include Super Resolution Upscaling to make everything look as good in 4K as possible, but we don’t know exactly what that means.

It will have a new slightly sleeker design with curved edges, plus Wi-Fi 6E, USB and Ethernet for connectivity. Really interesting, though, is that it’ll have HDMI in as well as HDMI out to your TV, so you can connect a cable box to it, to make sure everything goes through one box with total voice command of whatever you watch.

$139.99, shipping October 25th.

Amazon  Alexa voice remote buttons 1

(Image credit: Future)

Alexa Voice Remote Pro. You can now ask Alexa to locate your remote and it’ll make a noise so you can find it. It also has backlit keys, and it has customizable shortcut buttons. These can be for things you watch on TV, but they work with any Alexa routines, so they could include controlling your smart lights and blinds, to trigger a whole movie-watching setup.

It’ll cost $34.99.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED specs

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon is going to keep expanding its collaborations to bring Fire TV built into TVs, but it’s also going to keep offering better TVs of its own. Here’s the new Fire TV Omni QLED Series. 4K screen with QLED colors, and local dimming for better contrast. There’s both Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive HDR support – those are the two most advanced HDR options, so that’s impressive.

Amazon is also adding artwork to your TVs for when you’re not using it. This is all the rage right now – Samsung started doing it, LG got into it, Philips is getting into it, and now Fire TV is. You can ask Alexa to learn more about whatever’s being shown, such as who painted it or took the photo.

Alexa widgets are also coming to Fire TV Omni Series, turning them into giant Echo Shows, basically.

Amazon Omni QLED TV Pricing

(Image credit: Future)

The new Fire TV Omni QLED will be available in 65-inch and 75-inch sizes only, starting from a very aggressive $799.99 for the 65-inch version.

It’s surprising that there isn’t a 55-inch version – practically every single TV available today comes in that size! But if the image quality here is even half decent, a 65-inch QLED TV with those specs for that price… well, it’s like Black Friday prices without a discount.

That’s the end of the presentation from Amazon. It was a lot of products without any breathing time in between. My wrists hurt.

So, if you’re coming to this Amazon event late, you might be wondering – “what actually was announced?”.

Well, we’ll run you through everything now, giving you some extra detail on all the new devices.

Amazon Kindle Scribe

(Image credit: Future)

The biggest news at today’s Amazon event was undoubtedly the reveal of a new model in the Kindle line. The Kindle Scribe will be the most premium model yet and will come with its own stylus, with which you can write on the paper-like screen.  

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Amazon Kindle Scribe and its three surprising upgrades.

This could be a big new entry on our list of the best Kindles, adding a more professional entry alongside the consumer-focused existing models.

Amazon Halo Rise price

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon’s Halo line of fitness trackers hasn’t exactly set the world alight yet, but we quite like the look of the new Halo Rise.

The Halo Rise is a fitness device that watches you while you sleep – but for a good reason. What reason? Well, it’s a sleep tracker that uses sensors to monitor your slumber and machine learning to give you feedback on it. It can even wake you up more slowly using its integrated clock and light.

We had a mixed reaction to the Amazon Halo fitness tracker, but this makes it clear that the company’s intentions for its fitness products lie beyond wearables.

Amazon new Echo Dot display

(Image credit: Future)

Everyone loves the Echo Dot, right? Well, there’s now a 5th generation model of the spherical smart home staple. What’s more, the new Amazon Echo Dot promises bigger bass and clearer sound; specifically, it’ll be up to 50% less distorting while providing twice the bass.

It’ll come in two standard varieties — regular and Clock version — plus two Kids models, including one with a rather fetching purple dragon theme.

Amazon new Fire TV price

(Image credit: Future)

The Fire TV Cube was another smart home favorite that received a modest upgrade at the Amazon event. 

The big news here is that the new Fire TV Cube brings Alexa voice control to more of your devices, thanks to the addition of an HDMI input that enables you to connect one of the best gaming consoles, such as a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

It also gets some connectivity upgrades including Wi-Fi 6E support and a new Ethernet port, making it a strong contender for our best streaming devices list. 

The Echo Dot sitting on a table next to a water bottle and a yoga mat.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Sticking with connectivity, Amazon is turning your Alexa smart speaker into a Wi-Fi extender thanks to a new feature called Eero in Echo.

The idea is that you’ll be able to use one or more Echo devices as part of a mesh Wi-Fi system, boosting the signal around your home for a low price. 

You’ll still need a couple of Amazon’s Eero Wi-Fi extenders, like the Eero Home Wi-Fi System, to make it work, but it’s a neat idea that should help you get more from devices you may already own.

The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro being charged by a solar panel.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Ring devices were a big part of the Amazon event, with not one, not two, but three new models: the Spotlight Cam Pro, the Spotlight Cam Plus, and the Ring Alarm Panic Button (2nd Gen).

The most interesting of them is the Spotlight Cam Pro, which uses radar for 3D motion detection that will only trigger when a moving object crosses a pre-set threshold, which should make for much better sensitivity and far less chance of someone setting it off when they’re not approaching your home.

The panic button, meanwhile, can be linked to existing Ring setups so you can trigger them all with a single press, and even call emergency services at the same time. 

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