When you look at the list of voice-voice-activated hardware Amazon announced this week, even those who are not paranoid have to stop and think. The standout “Think About This…” device is called Echo Frames, a pair of audio-only smart glasses. They will read you your notifications and offer optional support for Google Assistant. And, yes, you can turn off the microphone… but how will the people around you know that?
Will Google glassholes evolve into Amazon Alexa-holes? The crazy thing is that audio-only augmented reality is very powerful. The question: will cool factor outweigh creep factor? Have a look at Amazon’s new world of audio-sensing devices and let me know.
Echo Frames (MSRP $179.99, available via invitation only… for now)
Smart glasses that look relatively chic? Sign me up! With all-day battery life, the Echo Frames are a screen-free, audio-only equivalent of a companion device, like a smartwatch. They’ll read notifications aloud and answer questions via Alexa or Google Assistant.
Echo Loop (MSRP $129.99, available via invitation only… for now)
What if smartwatch, but no screen? The Echo Loop is an audio-only smartwatch with Alexa built in (along with Google Assistant and Siri support). You can make calls with the Loop, too, if you hold it up to your ear. Beam me up, Scotty.
Echo Buds (MSRP $129.99, launches on October 30)
Echo Buds are Amazon’s answer to Apple AirPods. My big question: will they stay in your ears? Promising “high-end sound quality,” the Buds also include Bose noise-reduction tech. They’ll last five hours on a charge, and the case will offer three battery fill-ups, for a total of 20 hours. The Buds support Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Echo Studio (MSRP $199.99, launches on November 7)
Want the best Echo-branded audio experience available today? The Echo Studio is the company’s answer to Sonos and Apple’s HomePod. It’s the first smart speaker with 3D audio support, and includes Dolby Atmos.
Amazon Smart Oven (MSRP $249.99, launches on November 14)
Here’s where things start to get new, weird, and sort of exciting. Amazon already had an Alexa-powered microwave. Next up? An Alexa-powered microwave-air-fryer-convection oven combo. You can control it with your voice via your other Alexa devices. An added perk: you can scan your packaged foods and the oven will set the right amount of time, saving you… probably no time at all. But it’s the future, baby!
Echo Glow (MSRP $29.99, launches on November 20)
Another device that you can control with your other devices, the Echo Glow is a fun accessory with a light that you can change to help with reminders or make listening to music a bit more trippy. “Alexa, can you remind me what the “blue” light means?”
Echo Flex (MSRP $24.99, launches on November 14)
Want to up your home aesthetics? Plug the Echo Flex into a wall outlet and get the Echo experience, minus all those pesky wires and cords. It also has a built-in USB-port, too, in case you want to add a wire. You know, for old times’ sake.
New Eero (MSRP $99.99 for one or $249.99 for three, available now)
This is the first Eero device that Amazon has launched since it bought the company, and it packs more robust Alexa integration, quick setup, and more comprehensive home Wi-Fi coverage capabilities.
Ring Fetch (MSRP TBD, launches in 2020)
“Alexa, where’s my dog?” Never lose track of Fido again with the Ring Fetch, a tracking device you can stick on your pup’s collar to keep him nearby. This is powered by Amazon’s new low-power, long-distance wireless protocol called Sidewalk.
Other New Goodies
Want new versions of stuff you already have?
- The Echo Dot 3rd Gen — now known as the Echo Dot Clock — adds a clock to the Dot, so you can stop asking Alexa what time it is.
- The Echo Show 8 is the same thing as the Echo Show 5, except… bigger.
- The Echo Speaker Gen 3 has better sound than its predecessor, but not as good as the Studio.
- The Ring Stick Up Cam is the same thing as last year, except a bit cheaper.
- The Ring Stick Up Cam Elite is like the base Stick Up Cam, with an ethernet jack.
- The Ring Indoor Cam is the Stick Up Cam, except for inside.
- Can you guess what the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit does? If you said retrofit an old alarm system to work on the Ring network, you’re a winner!
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.