Welcome to Amazon’s 2023 Devices & Services event!
We’re coming to you live from HQ2 in Arlington where we’re watching the fall launch event. This year’s presentation will share how AI is powering the latest innovations in Amazon’s products and services.
Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices and Services, has taken the stage
It’s a bittersweet day for Limp, who announced in August he is retiring from Amazon. This will be his final time sharing Amazon’s fall product news. “But it’s also an amazing time to do so, because of the foundation we’ve built—and because of what we’re inventing now with AI,” Limp said.
Amazon started doubling down on the home about nine years ago
“We realized that nearly all of the R&D and investment in the consumer electronics industry were being funneled into mobile phones…at the same time, the place where you spend the vast majority of your life, your home, was virtually forgotten,” Limp said.
“Boy have we come a long way.” Check out some of these amazing stats:
- Customers have connected nearly a billion devices to Alexa—including Alexa-enabled devices and smart home devices connected to Alexa.
- Customers interact with Alexa tens of millions of times every hour.
- It’s not just timers and music. It’s smart home, up 25% from last year. It’s information, up more than 50%. It’s shopping, with 35% more customers YoY.
- Alexa has literally become part of the family in tens of millions of homes
With AI, the industry is going down a similar path, where generative AI has been primarily focused on creators, not consumers
“But when you’re building AI like this for a home assistant, you have to think about it very, very differently,” said Limp.
You’ll see today how we’ve made AI instantly accessible to anyone, anywhere, through our devices and services.
That brings us to our first device announcement
The all-new Echo Show 8 is our most ambient device yet.
Echo Show 8 features a sleek new industrial design and upgraded hardware
Improvements include a centered camera for even better video calls and an upgraded audio pipeline to minimize background noise. The processor has been updated for even faster display interactions.
We’ve also added a built-in smart home hub.
Better sound, too
This is a smart speaker, after all, so we challenged our audio team to up their game once again,” said Limp.
“We’ve added our custom-built spatial audio processing technology—creating a wider and more immersive sound experience,” Limp explained. “We’ve also added room adaption technology that senses the acoustics of the space and then fine-tunes playback for optimal sound.”
Another cool feature: Echo Show 8 takes into account how you interact with your device
Meaning, your home screen will change based on your proximity to the device, so if you’re further away from Echo Show 8, the screen will show the essentials, like a simplified news headline or a large clock display. As you approach your device, the content automatically transitions to a more detailed, touch-friendly UI.
Climate Pledge commitment
Along with every new device announced today, you’ll be able to view the carbon footprint and a Product Sustainability Fact Sheet for Echo Show 8 on the Amazon.com product detail page.
Plus, almost all the devices we announce today will come in 100% recyclable packaging in the United States
“We've been making progress on our other commitments as well. At the end of last year, we contracted enough renewable energy capacity through new wind and solar farms to equal the expected energy use of Echo, Fire TV, and Ring devices globally in 2025,” said Limp.
Echo Show 8 buying details:
You can pre-order Echo Show 8 for $149.99. It will ship starting next month.
Let’s take a look at the new generative AI model
“Our latest model has been specifically optimized for voice and the things we know our customers love—like having access to real-time information, efficiently controlling their smart home, and getting the most out of their home entertainment.”
To get started, we recognized that we needed to build five foundational capabilities
1. Conversational: We’ve studied what it takes to make a great conversation over the past nine years. It’s not just words; it’s body language, it’s understanding who you’re addressing, it’s eye contact and gestures.
2. Real-world applications: Alexa lives in the real world, not in the tab of your browser. And one of the unsolved challenges of these LLMs is how they interact with APIs and do the right thing.
3. Personalization: LLM in the home has to be personalized to you and your family.
4. Personality: “We’ve always said that the most boring dinner party is one where nobody has any opinions, and Alexa, powered by this LLM, will have opinions—and it will definitely still have the jokes and Easter eggs you’ve come to love from Alexa.”
5. Trust: To build an AI that will fulfill its promise, we need both trustworthiness and performance. “I have one of the most Alexa-fied houses out there, and I would not bring anything into my home that I felt compromised my family’s privacy.”
Soon, customers in the U.S. will get access to these new capabilities through a free preview on Echo devices they already own
Yes, that includes even the very first Echo device we shipped in 2014.
Onto a demo to see the new Alexa in action
Limp is chatting with Alexa about his favorite college football team, Vanderbilt.
Limp then asks Alexa, “What’s your favorite sports team?” and Alexa replies, “Dave, I’m from Seattle so my favorite team is the Seahawks. 12th man for life!” Alexa quickly responds to Limp’s questions about Seahawks stats and game times.
At several points, Limp pauses to address the audience, and then returns to the conversation with Alexa without using a wake word. They’re able to pick up right where they left off each time.
The experience is conversational and fast—just like a real chat between people.
Seems simple, right?
Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist of Amazon Artificial General Intelligence, takes the stage to explain what’s going on behind the scenes.
The new innovations
First, you no longer need to say “Alexa” over and over again. A new optional capability allows customers enrolled in Visual ID to start a conversation with Alexa simply by facing the screen.
Second, a new speech recognition system adjusts to your natural pauses and hesitation to deliver a more free-flowing conversation like the one between Limp and Alexa just now.
Alexa now adjusts its tone and emotion based on context
We’re hearing a recording of how Alexa sounded when we launched on the first Echo.
The preview recording of what it will sound like early next year is much more natural and expressive.
What’s coming down the line: speech-to-speech
“And we’re working on a new model—which we refer to as speech-to-speech—again powered by massive transformers. Instead of first converting a customer’s audio request into text using speech recognition, and then using an LLM to generate a text response or an action, and then text-to-speech to produce audio back—this new model will unify these tasks, creating a much richer conversational experience,” Prasad said.
Example: Alexa will directly learn and exhibit human-like conversational attributes, such as laugher, surprise, phrases like “uh-huh” to encourage you to continue speaking, or respond with excitement to match yours.
Up next, Heather Zorn, Vice President of Alexa takes the stage
It’s important we bring our partners along the journey with us. This thinking is in our DNA across Amazon—and it’s why we’ve made our developer tools publicly available for years.
Today, over one million brands have used our tools to grow their businesses. We’ll take this same approach as we continue to introduce advanced LLMs.
Introducing new LLM-powered tools for developers
We’re introducing tools that will allow developers to build Alexa experiences dramatically simpler and faster.
Starting next year, developers can integrate their content and APIs with our LLM, to deliver richer and more engaging experiences using a simple no-code solution.
Here are some interesting Alexa experiences from developers:
- Volley is building both single- and multi-agent driven games, on both headless and multi-modal Alexa devices.
- We’re working with BMW Group to develop conversational in-car voice assistant capabilities, which provide a natural way of interacting with and getting to know your car including quick how-to instructions and answers on your vehicle’s features.
- Character.ai is introducing a new Alexa experience that allows you to have natural conversations with over 25 unique characters across different categories. You can use expressive voices—each generated by leveraging Alexa’s advanced in-house TTS technology—to chat with these characters.
- Splash is connecting its AI-powered music creation technology with Alexa so that customers can create their own song and personalize elements like rhythm, lyrics, and more—all through voice. After hearing a preview of the song through the Splash app, customers can then modify it—adding vocals or extending the music for up to two minutes.
“Ambient experiences should be accessible to anyone,” says Zorn
In a video, we meet a few customers who use Alexa to make life a little better every day.
“First, Alexa can’t always understand everyone’s voice, and not everyone can use our touch screens.”
We’re learning about Emmett, a 4-year-old boy who inspired this next feature.
Introducing Eye Gaze on Alexa
This new feature is Amazon’s first foray into supporting customers with mobility or speech disabilities to use Alexa with their eyes.
Eye Gaze on Alexa will allow customers to gaze at their tablet to perform pre-set Alexa actions, like playing music and shows, control their home environment, and even call loved ones—entirely hands, and voice, free.
Eye Gaze on Alexa details
Eye Gaze on Alexa will be available at no additional cost later this year on the new Fire Max 11 Tablet.
“It’s still Day 1 with this technology—we’re excited about its potential, and can’t wait to learn how it works for customers.”
Today’s families are more dispersed and multi-cultural than ever before
With a new feature called Call Translation, your Alexa audio and video calls can be captioned in real time, allowing call participants to break down language barriers and communicate more effectively.
This feature also allows deaf and hard of hearing customers to communicate remotely more easily.
This feature will launch to Echo Show and Alexa mobile app customers in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain later this year, in over 10 languages including English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese.
Ambient technology can also help keep customers safer
Introducing Alexa Emergency Assist, a new personal and family safety service that will enable anyone in your home to get fast access to help, hands-free.
Alexa Emergency Assist will include 24/7 Urgent Response—simply say, “Alexa, call for help” and you’ll be connected to a dedicated, professionally-trained agent. They’ll also have access to pre-saved critical information at the time of the call—like your home address, medications, or allergies—along with the specific device the emergency call is made from, allowing first responders to be thoroughly prepared when they arrive at your home.
Alexa Emergency Assist subscription details
Alexa Emergency Assist will be coming soon to U.S. customers and supported on all Echo smart speakers and displays.
New US customers can subscribe to Alexa Emergency Assist for $5.99 per month or $59 per year.
Making Alexa more delightful for kids
Kids love Alexa. “My boys ask Alexa to play music, to tell jokes, and they really love to ask Alexa all the questions that pop into their heads and I don’t know the answer to. We hosted Noodles the classroom snake over the summer so there’s been a lot of questions on corn snakes lately,” said Zorn. In fact, kids ask Alexa over 25 million questions a month.
“Sometimes I struggle to answer in a way that they can understand—and in a way that encourages them to keep pursuing their curiosity. Until today, Alexa has struggled with this, too. Generative AI has opened up a world of possibilities to address this challenge.”
Explore with Alexa, a new exclusive addition to the Amazon Kids+ content service
Explore with Alexa is a new way for kids to engage in curiosity-driven, kid-friendly conversations with Alexa.
The Alexa Kids science and engineering team leveraged our LLM stack to transform Alexa's trusted knowledge base into kid-friendly fun facts and trivia questions.
Trust and safety are at the forefront. There are guardrails placed to have Alexa redirect back to the conversation at hand and away from inappropriate or sensitive content.
Explore with Alexa availability details
Available before the holidays, our initial release of Explore with Alexa has been calibrated by our science team to adapt information about animals and nature.
Just ask “Alexa, what’s my fun fact for today?” or “Alexa, tell me about animals” to kick off the conversation. Learn more.
Echo Pop Kids announcement and buying details
The newest and most affordable addition to the Echo Kids family is Echo Pop Kids which comes in two designs—Marvel’s Avengers and Disney Princess featuring corresponding character themes—with 6 months of the Amazon Kids+ included.
Echo Pop Kids is available for pre-order today in the U.S. for $49.99 and will ship next month. Learn more.
Two new kids tablets
Introducing the new Fire HD 10 Kids for younger kids and the new Fire HD 10 Kids Pro for older ones. These 10.1” tablets are lighter and 25% faster than our previous generation, with 1080p full HD displays, 3GB of RAM, and up to 13 hours of battery life.
They are also $10 less than our previous generation.
Both tablets include Amazon Kids+, which includes new experiences like Music Maker and Play Together Games
“My boys love to make noise and they are creative in doing it. Now with Music Maker, they can channel that creativity through music on their tablets. Kids can become composers, blending instruments and other sound effects together, to create a unique composition with the help of AI, all through touch.
Music Maker joins our incredibly popular Sound Box experience—a Fire Kids tablet feature that has brought families the joyous sounds of more than 2 billion screams, whistles, farts, and more since it launched last year. I bet you can guess the most popular sounds in my household,” said Zorn.
With our new Play Together games, kids play on their Fire Kids tablets while their grown-ups connect to the same game on their mobile phones from across the house, or across the country.
Fire HD 10 Kids and Fire HD 10 Kids Pro buying details
Both tablets come with our world-class parental controls, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee—if they break, return them and we’ll replace them for free. U.S. customers can pre-order Fire HD 10 Kids and Fire HD 10 Kids Pro today for $189.99 each, and the tablets will ship next month.
Let’s see some more generative AI applications in entertainment
The next-generation Echo Frames and Carrera Smart Glasses are our newest collection of smart eyewear, explains Rausch.
Improvements made to these glasses
Echo Frames and Carrera Smart Glasses feature improved battery (six hours of continuous media playback or talk time on a full battery charge) and multipoint pairing, “so you can move audio seamlessly between connected devices,” said Rausch.
Meanwhile, we completely redesigned the audio experience—there’s more balanced sound, better audio clarity, and less distortion.
Echo Frames and Carrera Smart glasses buying details
They come in seven fashionable styles, including two frames designed by Carrera Eyewear of Safilo Group.
Echo Frames and Carrera Smart Glasses start at $269.99 and customers can sign up online to be notified when pre-orders begin. Learn more.
Fire TV Search updates
With so much content from so many providers, it’s tough finding exactly what you’re looking for. “We all know what it’s like to feel like there’s nothing to watch. So, we’ve invented the Fire TV search experience to exactly solve this challenge, leveraging our latest LLM, to build a more natural and conversational way to find content with Alexa on Fire TV that is the perfect combination of speaking to a friend, and the world’s best video store clerk.”
Demo time: Let’s find something to watch together
Through a series of questions, we were able to narrow in on “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” an action movie with comedic elements that is great for teenagers and video game fans.
With the new voice search experience, you can simply tell Alexa what you’re in the mood to watch and choose from a selection of recommendations personalized to your Fire TV profile.
It’s also now easier to pick up where you left off
A new Continue Watching row is coming to your Fire TV and will aggregate your favorite content in one place, from leading streaming providers like Disney+, Max, Peacock, Prime Video, and more.
The new row puts content front and center, with a focus on recency that makes it easier for you to pick up where you left off in a movie or TV show and find what you want to watch quickly and easily.
New Fire TV Search availability details
The new Fire TV search and Continue Watching Row will be available through an over-the-air update in the U.S. later this year.
Starting today, U.S. customers will get six months of MGM+ on Amazon when they purchase anew Fire TV streaming media player or smart TV.
Fire TV Soundbar—the latest companion device for Fire TV—instantly improves your home theater
“Fire TV Soundbar enhances content with immersive sound, crisper dialog, and improved bass—all in a compact design. It’s Bluetooth enabled, simple to set up and compatible with all Fire TV streaming products and TVs. Just plug it in, connect to your TV, and your home theater is up and running,” said Rausch.
Fire TV Soundbar buying details
Fire TV Soundbar is available today for $119.99 in the U.S. and Canada, and available for pre-order in Mexico, shipping next week.
Introducing the next generation of our best-selling Fire TV Sticks
The new Fire TV Stick 4K is nearly 30% more powerful than the previous generation and now includes support for Wi-Fi 6, which means fast app starts and smooth, vibrant 4K Ultra HD streaming.
Fire TV Stick 4K buying details
The Fire TV Stick 4K will be available for pre-order today globally for $49.99.
Meanwhile, the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the industry’s first-ever streaming stick to support Wi-Fi 6E and the most powerful Fire TV Stick ever
Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s support for Wi-Fi 6E means lower latency, faster speeds, and less interference from other Wi-Fi enabled devices—and Fire TV Stick’s smoothest 4K streaming experience yet.
The new 4K Max offers stunning visuals thanks to support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+, and also includes support for Dolby Atmos audio.
Fire TV 4K Max buying details
The Fire TV 4K Max will be available for pre-order today globally for $59.99, and starts shipping to customers on September 27.
Fire TV Ambient Experience
“We also believe that actually smart TVs should do much more for you when you’re not streaming,” said Rausch.
The Ambient Experience will be available on the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, making it easy to see helpful information like your family calendar, local weather forecast, and reminders. We’re also adding hundreds of new images to our collection of free gallery-quality pieces of artwork, so customers will be able to display art from artists around the world, and from famous institutions like the Musée d’Orsay.
“You’ll also be able to create personalized AI Art on your Omni QLED Series TV by voice.”
Rausch demos capabilities of this AI Art feature, which include generating stylized images of new art and your personal photos.
This experience will be possible soon with the new Fire TV 4K Max.
Showing a sneak peek—future update coming next year—to transform photos into an artful display
Getting a live demo of Rausch turning photos from his personal library into art—a water color of his kids at Laguna Beach, and a cyber punk version of the Guggenheim in New York.
How to share photos across different ambient screens in your home
Coming later this fall, you can share photos with family and friends across any Fire TV or Echo Show device, like the new Echo Show 8. Plus, if you want to see more photos, you can simply say, “Alexa, start photo frame" to enjoy a slideshow of your shared photos.
A new way to enjoy photos on Echo Show 8
Also coming this fall is Echo Show 8 Photos Edition, which, along with a PhotosPlus subscription, unlocks a photo-forward mode on your Echo Show home screen, making your personal photos and videos the primary content you see.
Echo Show 8 Photos Edition is available for $159.99 and includes a six-month PhotosPlus subscription, which will renew at $1.99 per month.
According to our next presenter, Mimi Swain, Vice President of Ring, Amazon’s Ring and Blink businesses have collectively grown over 20% in the last year
“We love seeing the impact of that every day—lost pets that have been found, marriage proposals caught on doorbell cams, or just something as simple as me being able to see my daughter getting home from school every day,” Swain said.
Did you know Blink started as a silicon company?
That silicon is behind a lot of features customers love, like the long battery life, on-device computer vision, and low price.
Starting with Blink Outdoor 4
We recently announced Blink Outdoor 4, the next generation of Blink’s best-selling camera, which uses our proprietary silicon for features like Person Alerts, enabling the device to only detect and record people in your videos—not anything else.
On top of that, it helps us maintain the long battery life that Blink is known for—up to two years on two double-A batteries. Today, we’re building on that with three new devices,” Swain said.
A new solution for customers who want more camera coverage throughout their property
Blink Sync Module Pro extends the range of your Outdoor 4 significantly farther than Wi-Fi. You can now have one on a fence post that’s in the furthest corner of your backyard.
Blink Sync Module Pro buying details
Blink Sync Module Pro will be available early next year for $49.99.
Lighting and battery expansion to your cameras
“While Outdoor 4 already has an extensive battery life, we’re introducing a new Battery Extension Pack that can extend it up to four years.”
For flexible, easy-to-install lighting, Blink Outdoor 4 Floodlight Camera is a wire-free, smart LED motion-triggered camera that allows customers to light up any places on their property where they want more coverage.
Blink Outdoor 4 Floodlight and Battery Extension Pack buying details
Blink Outdoor 4 Floodlight Camera will be $159.99 and the Battery Extension Pack will be $29.99. Both devices are available for pre-order today and will ship to customers starting on October 17. Learn more.
Improving the Ring experience
“Ring pioneered the video doorbell industry and has become a staple in households across the world. Ring doorbells have been pressed over 1.5 billion times since January alone!” said Swain.
But Ring is so much more than a doorbell company—in fact, Ring’s line of security cameras is its fastest growing product line, with sales up more than 30% this year.
New indoor/outdoor camera, Ring Stick Up Cam Pro, features 3D Motion Detection
“This year, we’re adding 3D Motion Detection to our most versatile Ring camera line up with Stick Up Cam Pro, an indoor/outdoor camera that will give neighbors more control over where motion is detected, and see where it took place—like the path your package takes from the delivery truck to your front door.”
Other features include Audio+, with two array microphones, echo cancellation, and a security siren, as well as Color Pre-roll to get a history of detected motion that includes the seconds before you receive an alert.
Ring Stick Up Cam Pro buying details
Ring Stick Up Cam Pro will be available today for pre-order for $179.99 and ship next month.
Featured Routines for Ring
This fall in the Ring app, you’ll see a list of pre-populated Routines you can enable that are based on your preferences.
Examples include turning off your lights and arming your home security system, turning on your lights when someone rings the doorbell at night, or announcing when someone opened the back door.
Eero Max 7, Amazon’s fastest eero yet and first Wi-Fi 7 mesh system
With 10 Gigabit Ethernet, It's possible for you to download a 4K movie in 10 seconds.
“Using the latest Wi-Fi 7 technology, TrueMesh, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, eero Max 7 will deliver the fastest speeds eero customers have ever experienced,” said Swain.
Eero Max 7 is “the foundation for smart home connectivity, supporting over 200 connected devices and Matter … it’ll be great for large homes or high-demand networks, and businesses with densely packed devices where multiple applications are being run. This is an entirely new class of eero, built without compromise.”
Eero Max 7 buying details
eero Max 7 will start at $599.99 and be available soon in one-, two-, and three -packs. It will also be available through leading internet service providers like Frontier.
According to our next presenter, Charlie French, Director of Smart Home, “Customers have connected more than 400 million smart home devices to their Alexa home.”
"And they’re using Alexa to control their smart home devices hundreds of millions of times each week. We understand—probably more than any other company—the complexity of the home, thanks to nearly a decade of experience in this space.”
We’ve learned that your home tech needs to:
- Be as easy as flipping a light switch
- Be effortless
- Be natural—as easy as talking to a friend
More smart home applications of LLMs
“Connecting generative AI to the real world is incredibly difficult—there’s a ton of complexity on the back-end. The LLM has to be able to manage a seemingly endless amount of variation in a customer’s home: what devices they have, what they’ve named them, where they’ve placed them—so it can trigger the right action with the right API for that customer. We’re excited to share with you the progress the team has made in solving these problems, the first time we've seen anyone apply generative AI at scale in this way.”
More conversational experiences
Today, interacting with your smart home is transactional. You need to know specific device names and to control multiple devices you have to make multiple requests. With our latest LLM, you can now ask Alexa to “turn on my TV, make the living room lights look like the aurora borealis, and clean the dining room.” It’s just so much easier.
We’ll start with lighting, blinds, appliances, and cameras, and we’ll add more devices next year.
You can also use this new experience to create Routines, using just your voice
As an example: Alexa, every morning start my coffee at 8 am, open the blinds, dim the lights in the study, and play my morning news. And boom, Alexa figures it out.
You don’t need to take out your phone and take the time to set this up in the app.
Alexa will also be better at making inferences
As an example: “Just the other day I installed a new light in my living room. No one in my family knew what I named that light, but now they can say “Alexa, turn on the new light in the living room”—and Alexa takes care of it,” said French.
Extending these benefits of our LLM to other device makers
With Dynamic Controller, device makers tell Alexa the unique things their devices can do instead of having to predict what customers might say. So, a customer can say “Alexa, make my lights look spooky,” and Alexa will infer exactly what to do.
Your smart home should be easy to control
“Today, millions of customers have more than 20 devices connected to Alexa. That’s incredible momentum, but we know it can be hard to manage that many devices. Even I struggle scrolling through a long list of devices trying to find that device with a name I can’t remember. We knew we had to make it easier," said French.
Introducing Map View, a simple, visual way to manage your smart home
Later this year, customers will be able to create a digital map of their house and pin their connected devices to it. With Map View, you get an at-a-glance view of your smart home’s status. You can also control devices from Map View, so if you’ve just climbed into bed and want to turn off the lights downstairs, you can do that effortlessly.
Privacy controls and transparency
Map View is an opt-in experience. You can choose which rooms are added to your floor plan, select which devices show up, and can always delete your floor plan altogether.