Pet-friendly robots, bedside sleep tracking, and everything else you missed at Amazon’s big hardware event

Techtober may still be a few days away, but Amazon is wasting no time in getting us started on a high, and today the company unveiled a dizzying array of new products and improvements to existing ones. We’ve already highlighted some of the big new stuff, like the stylus-equipped Kindle Scribe, or the new Echo Dots and the cool way Amazon uses them to act as Wi-Fi range extenders, but that’s just scratching the surface. the service. Let’s take a look at the best of the rest of what Amazon had to share, including robot upgrades, new Fire TVs, and more.


Astro the robot grows

A year ago, Amazon introduced us to Astro, its autonomous domestic robot. Along with all the Alexa features you’d expect, Astro could also work as a mobile security camera, and even act as a companion while helping the elderly with Alexa Together. Availability is still very limited, with the $1,000 robot sold by invitation only, but Amazon is already bringing Astro some new features.

For one, Astro learns to recognize your pets, helping you stay in touch with them even when you’re away from home. Improvements to the robot’s AI will allow it to recognize the difference between open or closed doors and windows, and alert you to those changes. And businesses will be able to use Astro with Ring’s Virtual Security Guard service to respond to and verify potential incidents. Finally, a new SDK is being released to give third-party developers the ability to create experiments for Astro.

Halo Rise knows when you sleep

It seems like everyone who does anything with smart home or wearable devices is very interested in sleep tracking these days, and of course that includes Amazon. Since not all of us want to wear a tracker to bed, the idea of ​​a non-invasive solution might sound very appealing, like what Google is doing with the new Nest Hub. Now Amazon is releasing its own smart sleep-tracking bedside hardware, called Halo Rise.

Like the Nest Hub, Halo Rise is a touchless sleep monitor, sensing your movement and measuring breathing to get an idea of ​​your sleep cycles. Environmental sensors that track temperature, humidity, and light levels are supposed to help give Rise the context it needs to understand why you might not be sleeping as well as you are (and recommending avenues for improvement). improvement). There’s a built-in wake-up light for a gradual sunrise effect, and of course it can connect to your other Alexa devices. Full functionality may require a $4/month Halo subscription (it comes with six months free), and Amazon will sell the Halo Rise for $140 when it arrives later this year.

Echo Studio and Echo Auto upgrades

Amazon is all about upgrades for Echo devices today, and in addition to new hardware and a fantastic-sounding Wi-Fi Extender software upgrade for existing Dots, Echo Studio and Echo Auto get their own love.

We already really liked the Echo Studio smart speaker, and now Amazon is giving it a spatial audio upgrade. The company offers a very technical explanation of how this treatment works, but honestly, we just want to hear it for ourselves. The best news is that while it’s going to debut with Echo Studio, Spatial Audio should also be coming to other Echo devices further down the road.

Echo Auto has been around for a while now, and frankly, a refresh was probably overdue. The new automatic design is positively tiny and can just stick straight to the front of your dash, rather than trying to balance itself awkwardly at the top. And if you find yourself stranded somewhere, paid roadside assistance will connect you to the help you need (hopefully without breaking the bank).

Eero wants to cover your home with Wi-Fi

Honestly, turning Echo Dots into Wi-Fi repeaters is probably the biggest network news to come out of today’s announcements, but Amazon also has a few developments to share about new Eero hardware.

The company is introducing a few new Eero Wi-Fi 6 solutions using Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) for rapid deployment. Comprised of an access point and a gateway, this new hardware looks decently capable, but it’s also positioned among professional installers and enterprises, so you’re unlikely to pick up any of this directly.

However, one interesting user change you should pay attention to is Eero’s new internet backup feature, which allows you to connect something like a mobile hotspot to use as a fallback when your wired internet connection fails.

Latest Fire TVs introduce a new ambient experience

Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube is ready to give your existing screen a serious upgrade, but if you’re looking for something brand new, you have the option of Fire TV Series Omni QLED.

Comprised of an $800 65-inch model and a $1,100 75-inch option, these are the first models from Amazon to feature what it calls its ambient experience, displaying artwork and indicating the status of your smart home when it detects your presence. They bring Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive support to the Fire TV series, and their 4K QLED panels provide 96 discrete dimming zones. Both models are expected to start shipping in late October.

That’s a lot of new Amazon hardware to figure out, but Techtober is just getting started. Be sure to check in with Android Police next week for full coverage of Google’s big Pixel 7 event, where we’ll also get to meet the Pixel Watch for the first time.