There’s a pattern to the Fall in the world of technology, as predictable as when the leaves will gently tumble from the trees. After the change of seasons is heralded by the big technology showcase in Berlin, called IFA, it’s Apple’s turn to reveal its latest iPhones in early September. Then Amazon has its own shindig, followed by Google’s Pixel reveal (coming early next month). And then there could be more from Apple.
Now, in Amazon’s stunning building in Seattle, shaped like two intersecting spheres and locally referred to as, I kid you not, Bezos’ Balls, Amazon launched more than a dozen new products. Incidentally, for another take on the day, read Forbes Contributor Patrick Moorhead’s analysis.
Chief presenter on the day was Dave Limp, an Amazon exec with a remarkable depth of knowledge of all his company’s electronic products and a contagiously deep excitement about them.
Here’s the tip of the iceberg of items that were launched, many coming soon enough to be part of Black Friday.
Echo Dot Clock
Apparently, the most common question asked of the Echo Dot is, “Alexa, what’s the time?” So, putting a highly visible digital clock into the fabric makes perfect sense. It goes on sale today for $59, though the previous model is still on sale. It also works as a voice-controlled smart alarm clock.
The basic Echo has been improved with fabric covers that make it look and sound better. Available for $99.99 from today.
Echo Show 8
This new model with an eight-inch display sits between the Echo Show with its 10-inch display and Echo Show 5 with, you guessed it, a five-inch screen. There’s a front-facing camera but it has a physical shutter so you can be confident the Show 8 can’t see you when you don’t want it to. $129.99.
This is all-new and is a teeny-tiny speaker that plugs straight into the wall socket so you can talk to Alexa in every room, even when there’s no space for an Echo Dot, say. A USB port on the bottom means you can charge a phone from it. $24.99. Pay an extra $14 and it’ll have a motion sensor and nightlight built in, too.
Oh, and it’s not even the smallest Amazon speaker…
The tiniest speaker of all appears in the fifteenth gadget Amazon announced!. The Echo loop is a ring with a titanium chassis. It has two microphones and a haptic vibration to alert you to notifications and incoming calls. $129.99, available on an invite-only basis. After an introductory period, the price will rise to $179.99.
If the Loop has the smallest speaker, this is the biggest one announced today. A high-end speaker with support for Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, it has five directional speakers built in. Priced at $199.99, that’s $100 less than Apple’s HomePod.
Fancy some true-wireless buds? These smart in-ears, rumored some months back, include Bose Active Noise Reduction and access to Alexa hands-free, just be speaking her name. All for just $129.99.
Arguably the most adorable product announced today, the Glow is a nightlight controlled by an Echo. It can throb to the pulse of the music, change color, or look like a candle (well, sort of). It looks tremendous and costs just $24.99. This is my favorite and I can’t wait to get one.
These are smart spectacle frames, but, don’t worry, they are not Google Glass. There’s no display or cameras but a microphone means you can talk to Alexa. $249, invitation only.
There was more even than this, like a new Eero mesh router system and three Ring camera products, including a lower-priced indoor camera and Ring
Retrofit Alarm Kit
which lets you integrate existing home security sensors.
The fast-paced press conference was typical Amazon: full of cute, highly affordable devices with enough variety to ensure the company announced something irresistible for just about everyone..