Today is the day...
The music is fading. The countdown clock is ticking towards zero. It seems like things are about to get going.
Good morning from Seattle
We are watching Amazon’s Devices and Services Fall Launch Event, the annual presentation where Amazon unveils its latest lineup of products and innovations.
We are starting with Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon’s Devices and Services business
Limp is standing inside the futuristic Spheres, located at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.
Dave's favorite day of the year
“This is my favorite day of the year,” Limp said. “The teams have been working hard since the last time we were together to bring innovations to customers around the world. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on—and to tell you more about our vision for ambient intelligence and how it comes to life.”
Our first piece of big news
The day’s first piece of big news: Kindle Scribe—an all-new Kindle, built for reading AND writing.
Everything you need in one place
“For years, I’ve been carrying around a Kindle and a yellow notepad. Now, everything I need for reading and writing is in one place,” Limp said.
Limp loves his Kindle Scribe
Limp said he’s been able to use the Kindle Scribe for some time now in beta, and he loves that he can send documents “from my phone or computer right to Scribe, mark up PDFs, and add Sticky Notes to Word documents—all in the same place. And coming early next year, you will be able to send documents to Kindle Scribe directly from Microsoft Word.”
Kindle Scribe details
The Kindle Scribe comes with the world's first 10.2-inch, 300 ppi adjustable front-light display. Limp said the new device adjusts to the surroundings for an optimal experience day or night and “lasts weeks and weeks, without ever having to think about charging.”
The Kindle Scribe will be available globally in time for the holidays, starting at $339 with the pen included. U.S. customers will get access to a wide selection of over 3 million eBooks with a free, four-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited.
Even More Kindle Announcements
Limp also talked about two other new Kindle products: Kindle and Kindle Kids. “Customers can get premium features like our most compact design, our highest resolution display, and up to six weeks of battery life—all for less than $100,“ he said.
Millions of titles globally
Before we move on, Limp just talked about the Kindle Store. It offers more than 13 million titles globally. This includes new and upcoming releases from Michelle Obama, hundreds of thousands of titles from Kindle Direct Publishing, and limitless reading with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. For Kindle Scribe customers who can’t wait to start annotating their non-fiction texts, the Kindle Store has over 2 million non-fiction titles—including exclusive content from bestselling authors, like Jenny Lawson, and modern classics, like works from Malcolm Gladwell.
The Spheres are home to thousands of plants. They are a good example of connecting innovation with Amazon’s commitments to sustainability. Another example: by allowing people to read on a digital screen, Kindle saved 2.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the last two years, according to the results of a recent study. That’s equivalent to the carbon absorbed by more than 2.7 million acres of U.S. forests in one year, Limp said.
100% recyclable device packaging in the U.S.
Limp is also sharing an update on Amazon’s goal, set in 2020 to make our device packaging 100% recyclable by 2023. This is a first for the consumer electronics industry.
Ahead of schedule
“I am pleased to announce that we’re ahead of schedule on this commitment,” he said.
Our goal to make our device packaging 100% recyclable by 2023 is ambitious 😅, but we're on our way. The majority of devices we’re announcing today will ship globally in new, paper-based device packaging, and this redesigned device packaging will be 100% recyclable in the U.S. ♻️ pic.twitter.com/hawZ8XvfeH— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Our responsibility to lead
This past year, Amazon became the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, Limp said. We have a responsibility to lead and do more.
Want to learn even more? Check out this rundown of the latest in sustainability from the Devices and Services Business.
A world that can adapt to our needs
Limp is talking about Ambient Intelligence. It’s the idea that digital systems, services, and devices can work together in the background on our behalf—helping us create a world that can adapt to our needs so we can focus on the things that matter to us.
Technology that adapts to you
“There is a paradigm shift happening in consumer electronics: Technology needs to be personalized and intuitive enough to adapt to you and your environment—not the other way around,” Limp said. “We call this ambient intelligence.”
For Amazon, ambient intelligence is composed of many different things, but it can be boiled down to three key characteristics.
1) It has to be intuitive for everybody.
2) It should be proactive.
3) Ambient intelligence is personalized.
Ambient computing is already here
Limp said that nearly 90% of daily Alexa routines are initiated without a customer having to say anything.
The golden age of AI
Limp stays with the ambient intelligence theme. “[We're] seeing the golden age of artificial intelligence unfold before our very eyes. I often say the best part of my job is getting to live in the future,” Limp said. “And, that’s never been truer than with ambient intelligence.”
Njenga Kariuki takes the stage
Dave Limp passes it off to Njenga Kariuki, who takes the stage to set up another big announcement and explain how ambient intelligence applies to health and wellness—particularly, sleep.
“Prioritizing sleep isn’t just about getting more sleep. It’s about finding the right balance between great sleep and the habits and activities you do during the day,” he said. “We call this “sleep-life harmony," and we strive to invent devices and services that remove the obstacles that disrupt this balance."
Introducing Halo Rise: A powerful, purpose-built tool
Kariuki said that Halo Rise brings together different features into one powerful, purpose-built tool that works silently and intelligently in the background. It is designed to help customers understand and improve their sleep.
Just get into bed and you're good to go...
“With Halo Rise, there are no apps to activate, nothing to wear on your wrist, no batteries to worry about—just get into bed and you’re good to go.” said Kariuki.
How it works
Halo Rise doesn’t have a camera or microphone; instead, it uses no-contact, low-energy sensor technology and advanced machine learning to sense movement and respiratory patterns. This allows Halo Rise to accurately determine a user’s sleep stages throughout the night. Amazon trained and validated the device's sleep algorithm against the clinical gold standard for sleep analysis called—big word alert—overnight polysomnography.
Halo Rise also features built-in environmental sensors that measure the temperature, humidity, and light in the bedroom—helping you to optimize and improve your sleeping conditions. Kariuki said Halo Rise works with Alexa, enabling you to use a compatible Echo device to wake up to your favorite song or set up Alexa Routines, which can dim the lights and start a meditation automatically when you get into bed.
Privacy is paramount
Like every Halo product, Halo Rise features multiple layers of privacy and security to keep data safe and in your control. The documentary-style video, which is wrapping up now, dives into more detail.
Did the video pique your curiosity? Learn even more about 'the science behind' Halo Rise.
From Twitter: Halo Rise
Better sleep? 😴 Yes pls.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Introducing Halo Rise, a first-of-its-kind bedside sleep tracker, wake-up light, & smart alarm. Using no-contact sensor tech, it determines sleep stages & measures a bedroom’s environment to provide highly accurate insights/personalized sleep analysis. pic.twitter.com/ZlNp9DBqtv
Available this year
Halo Rise will be available later this year for $139.99, and includes a 6-month Halo membership.
Introducing Heather Zorn
Heather Zorn, Amazon’s vice president for Alexa, takes the stage.
Living in the moment
Zorn is picking up the ambient theme and talking about the importance of creating experiences that keep people “rooted in the moment, not distracted by a device.” We’ve heard this kind of language a lot already this morning. Ambient intelligence really is about helping you be and stay in the moment.
Echo Studios updates
Zorn just unveiled a free update that will benefit all current and future Echo Studio customers. “This is our best-sounding speaker, and a customer favorite. In fact, it’s one of our top-rated Echo products. And this year, we’re making it even better,” she said. It comes with new, custom-built spatial audio processing technology that builds on Amazon’s 3D audio. It’s designed to enhance stereo sound and offer greater width, clarity, and presence. Amazon enhanced the frequency range extension technology to deliver better performance by improving mid-range clarity and deepening the bass. There’s also a new color option: Glacier White, which starts shipping next month.
Echo Dot gets an upgrade
Echo Dot, the world’s bestselling smart speaker, also got an upgrade.
Echo Dot updates
Amazon redesigned the audio architecture to fit a larger speaker into a device that’s the same size as the previous generation. The result, according to Zorn, is clearer vocals and up to twice the bass of the previous generation. “I’ve always thought the sound on my Echo Dots was great, but this device manages to squeeze in even better audio quality—it’s so impressive what the team has managed to do here,” Zorn said.
More information on the Echo Dot display
Amazon also updated the Echo Dot with Clock to include a display that can show more information.
More upgrades are rolling in hot
Zorn said the next-gen Echo Dot also comes with an accelerometer and temperature sensor. The accelerometer enables more tap gesture controls, so users can simply tap the top of the device to pause and restart music, stop a timer, or end a call. With the temperature sensor, they can ask Alexa for the room temperature, or, when combined with Routines, Alexa can proactively turn on their smart fan if it gets too warm. This is another excellent example of ambient intelligence operating in the background.
Echo mash up
There's even more to the new Echo Dot lineup. Amazon also added eero Built-in to Echo Dot, allowing Echo devices to serve as wifi extenders for the first time. Each compatible Echo device adds up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to an existing eero network. “We’re making it easier than ever for you to stream in 4K or take a video call, with fewer dead zones,” Zorn said.
Echo Dot will be available for $49.99, and Echo Dot with Clock for $59.99. You can pre-order both today.
Oodles of Echo news
There’s oodles of Echo news today; Zorn is announcing new additions to the Echo Dot Kids family as well.
Last September, Amazon announced “Hey, Disney!”—a custom voice assistant built on Alexa technology, which provides customers access to immersive experiences and entertainment, featuring iconic characters. Zorn said that “Hey, Disney!” will soon be available to customers in the U.S. with a Kids+ subscription or in the Alexa Skills Store.
Just in from Twitter: New Echo designs
In addition to the new & improved Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock, we're adding two new designs for Echo Dot Kids devices: Owl 🦉 and Dragon 🐉.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Comes w/ 1 yr of Amazon Kids+, the only kid-focused content service with thousands of ad-free books, games, apps, and Alexa skills. pic.twitter.com/KZugNjhv0w
Disney's wearable device, MagicBand+, will be compatible with "Hey, Disney!" and work with Echo devices in resort and at home. Playing Disney trivia will be even more fun as your MagicBand+ transforms into a game show style buzzer and reacts with lights and haptics when you answer trivia questions. “This is just the start,“ Zorn said.
Co-create characters and visual stories
With parental consent, a new AI-powered feature will allow kids to co-create characters and visual stories with Alexa.
"Following Alexa’s prompts, kids can select or customize animated characters—like mermaids and astronauts—and Alexa will create a unique story with captivating visuals and music,” Zorn said. “This is made possible by advancements in conversational and generative AI across language and audio—enabling Alexa to generate stories by using context to inform how the story develops. Kids can start creating with Alexa this holiday season with a variety of free story starters.” Zorn said that “soon” Amazon Kids+ subscribers “will have fun with new partner and premium options, as well.”
Shop the look
Zorn said that half of Alexa customers have used their device to shop. “We’re doubling down with Shop the Look, a new feature on Echo Show devices that leverages a breakthrough in how our AI understands and acts on customer references of visual attributes,” she said. Zorn said customers can say something as intuitive as “Alexa, show me the one-shoulder top” and get results. Amazon engineers accomplished this by using the Alexa Teacher Model, which is pre-trained on images and multilingual captions, and fine-tuned on the Amazon product catalog.
Taking ambient intelligence on the road
Ambient intelligence can be useful, both at home and on the go, and that’s where Zorn is taking us now—on the road.
“Ambient technology is at its best in environments where people are focused on other tasks, and nowhere is that more important than in the car,” Zorn said. “Voice can minimize distractions and help you keep your eyes on the road so you can focus on the fun of driving.” Echo Auto, available for $54.99, “works great for hands-free messaging and communications, navigation, and listening to your favorite podcast,” Zorn said. “But now it can do a lot more.”
Just in from Twitter: Disney's MagicBand+ will be compatible with the "Hey Disney!" assistant
Another fun one: soon, @Disney's MagicBand+, the wearable device that lets guests enter theme parks, unlock their Disney resort hotel rooms, and more, will be compatible with the “Hey Disney!" assistant at home and in resort. 🪄 pic.twitter.com/jFXZsTAS1X— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Just in from Twitter: Echo Auto gets a slimmer design
The new Echo Auto brings @alexa99 on the road with a slimmer design & new adhesive mount for more placement flexibility.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
And, ask Alexa for Roadside Assistance to connect w/ an agent to request pay-as-you-go services like if you get a flat tire or run out of gas. pic.twitter.com/d9HSyJ5in1
Built on Alexa
BMW's new voice experience will be built with Alexa Custom Assistant—a comprehensive solution that makes it easy for BMW and other brands and device makers to create their own custom intelligent assistant—tailored to their brand personality and customer needs. It’s all built on Alexa technology, eliminating the cost and complexity of building a voice experience from the ground up.
Teaming up with BMW
Dave Limp and Stephan Durach, BMW's senior vice president of Development Technical Operations, just announced that BMW's next-generation voice experience will be built on Alexa technology. This will bring together what BMW does best—providing the ultimate driving experience—with the magic of Alexa, creating an entirely new experience inside the vehicle. Learn more about the details of this collaboration.
Here comes Astro
Last year, Amazon unveiled Astro. Now Ken Washington, vice president of Consumer Robotics, is on stage to share the latest news about the company’s first home robot.
Personality and utility
Washington said that customers responded to Astro like they did to Alexa, loving the robot for its personality as well as its utility. “Today I want to talk about some new devices and services we’ll be adding to give customers even more peace of mind.”
Adding new functionality to the Alexa Together service
He said that Amazon is adding new functionality to the Alexa Together service, which allows customers to create custom alerts for their family members' daily smart home activity. “That daily reassurance is also a BIG part of why we created Astro in the first place,” Washington said.
A pet project for Astro
Astro will soon be able to detect cats and dogs—offering a unique way to check on your pets while you’re away. While patrolling, Astro will send you a video clip of what your pet is doing when it sees them, so you can then use Live View to say hi to them, or simply enjoy watching their antics.
In addition, Astro is Amazon’s first device with “a new multimodal AI capability that will enable it to learn about things in your home that you want it to,” Washington said. “Based on what you say while Astro is looking at an object, Astro will learn about the object’s place and state in your home—similar to how humans learn. This will start with doors and windows, so that Astro can alert you if something was left open that shouldn’t have been.”
Just in from Twitter: Enlist Astro to check in on your pets
Customers who use Astro tell us they love the peace-of-mind it gives them when they're away, so we're bringing that same experience to pets.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Astro will soon be able to detect cats and dogs in the home, giving owners a unique way to check on them while away. 🐶🐱 pic.twitter.com/p7CITQef1H
Invent with Astro
Developers will soon have the ability to create their own experiences for Astro, with an upcoming software development kit (SDK) for Astro. “We’ve already been testing an early version of the SDK internally—in fact, the new pet detection feature was built using this SDK,” Washington said. He said that this year, Amazon will start working with three of the world’s leading robotics schools—the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland, and the University of Michigan. “We’ll put an early form of the SDK in their students’ hands. These are some of the brightest minds in robotics, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with,” he said.
Astro and Ring
Washington is also talking about a new integration between Astro and Ring Virtual Security Guard. Learn more on the Ring Blog.
Astro reporting for duty
Just in from Twitter: Astro helps small business owners protect their businesses
To help SMB owners protect their businesses, we’re adding an additional layer to @ring’s Virtual Security Guard through a pilot program with Amazon Astro, helping to deter unwanted activity and letting professionals from Rapid Response request emergency dispatch if needed. pic.twitter.com/NZodWUv7qn— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
Spotlight Cam Pro
Besides the new Astro features, Amazon also announced technology that can keep an eye on your home. Spotlight Cam Pro is the latest in Ring's Pro lineup of cameras, which integrates radar to deliver more precise motion alerts. It costs $229.99, and you can pre-order it today.
"For more than a decade, Ring has enhanced customers’ lives with convenience and greater peace of mind," Washington said, "And we’re seeing lots of momentum with Blink too."
Peace of mind with Blink
Washington introduced Blink Mini Pan Tilt, an accessory for the Blink Mini security camera. It brings additional functionality with a 360-degree view of any room, so you can see more of what’s happening from corner to corner. It costs $29.99.
More new Blink devices
There are more new Blink devices and features: Blink Wired Floodlight Camera is a smart floodlight camera that uses computer vision capabilities like Privacy and Activity Zones. Just like with Astro, all computer vision processing takes place on the device. It costs $99.99 and will be available later this year.
Home smart home
Smart devices must talk to each other to make ambient intelligence a reality. Strong wifi has already become the foundation of the connected home, and eero CEO and Co-Founder Nick Weaver is on stage to share the latest eero news.
"Tens of millions of eeros” enable fast wifi
eero wifi devices work together to create a wide wireless network, called a mesh network. Weaver said there are “tens of millions of eeros” around the world, which enable fast and reliable wifi.
eero's biggest lineup
Now, a new software feature called eero Internet Backup allows customers to wirelessly set up a backup internet connection—like a phone or mobile hotspot—and their network will automatically attempt to switch over to the backup connection when an outage occurs. Weaver said it will be available in the coming months as a software update for eero Plus subscribers and select ISP customers with a compatible eero device.
Learn more about how new eero features add back-up connectivity and expand existing coverage in homes.
Maximizing your wifi coverage
Weaver announced the eero PoE 6, a Wi-Fi 6 Power over Ethernet access point that can provide up to 2,000 square feet of coverage and support up to 100 devices. It can go almost anywhere Ethernet cable can be pulled, and customers can maximize their wifi coverage by mounting it on walls or ceilings. The eero PoE 6 will be available in the U.S. and Canada through authorized professional installers in October. Early next year, eero PoE 6 (MSRP: $299.99/$399.99 CAD) will be available through select ISP partners in the U.S. and Canada and via amazon.com in the U.S.
"Our fastest wired experience"
Weaver says Amazon’s first device with 10 Gigabit Ethernet delivers our fastest wired experience ever. The eero PoE Gateway can provide up to 100 watts of pooled power for multiple PoE devices. It'll be available early next year through select ISP partners in the U.S. and Canada and via Amazon.com in the U.S. for an MSRP of $649.99/$859.99 CAD.
Just in from Twitter: Our biggest eero lineup yet
And now, our biggest @geteero lineup yet:— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
eero PoE 6 & eero PoE Gateway, a new class of power-over-ethernet devices;
eero Built-in on the newest Echo Dot devices to expand coverage;
and eero Internet Back to keep customers online during outages. pic.twitter.com/o57lzqaLhY
An important matter
There are more than 140,000 Alexa-compatible products, and more than 300 million smart home devices currently connected to Alexa. “This is an effort unprecedented in its scale and complexity—and we are excited about making our homes smarter and easier to use, while ensuring our customers continue to have a high-quality experience,” Weaver said. "Amazon is working with partners like Eve, Resideo, Phillips Hue, and many others to help make their Matter experiences simple and easy."
Helping device makers
Weaver also said that Amazon is bringing Frustration-Free Setup to the Matter software development kit (SDK) “so customers can get a device connected by just plugging it in. And we’re also introducing a new Alexa Connect Kit, which will help device makers connect Matter devices to the cloud, and enable things like easy over-the-air software updates,” he said.
A new standard
Weaver is talking about Matter, a new standard that aims to further simplify the smart home, giving customers the flexibility to mix and match their devices and voice assistants. This is a big task.
One step closer
“All of this will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal for Alexa to be compatible with all smart home devices, giving customers even more choice and flexibility.”
An Echo of the future
We've already heard today how ambient intelligence can help customers at home, on the road, and even in your sleep. Daniel Raush, vice president of Fire TV, is on the stage now, and he's talking about how ambient intelligence intersects with entertainment.
Bringing Fire TV to the Echo Show 15
Rausch said that by being intuitive, personalized, and proactive, “ambient intelligence can reinvent everything from how you control your smart home, to your morning routine, even what it means to have family movie night.” He announced that Amazon will bring its Fire TV experience to new and existing customers using Amazon’s Echo Show 15 device.
Just in from Twitter: We're adding the Fire Video experience to new & existing Echo Show 15s
Of customers that used their Echo Show 15 device last month, over 70% used it to watch videos. So, at no extra cost, we're adding the @amazonfiretv experience to new & existing Echo Show 15s. We think customers will love having access to the Fire TV content they know and love.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
A next-gen Fire TV Cube
Alexa is an important component of Amazon’s ambient intelligence vision, and that includes entertainment. "We know customers love using Alexa on Fire TV, Rausch says. ”When we look across the 150 million Fire TV devices we’ve sold to date, we see customers engage with content nearly twice as much when they use their voice. And now over 70 partners have also deeply integrated voice into their own streaming apps on Fire TV as well."
A "foundational" integration with voice
Rausch said this deep voice integration is "foundational" to its new Fire TV Cube. He said it has hands-free voice control, “so you can get to the content you want, intuitively, without having to worry about finding the right remote or flipping through different streaming services to find what you’re looking for.” He added, “This is made easy by our latest 4 microphone array that suppresses competing noises to ensure Alexa clearly hears your request. And with the built-in 360-degree IR blaster, it's possible to control your other living room devices with just your voice, too.”
Rausch just announced expanded integration with compatible hearing aids.
Rausch said the new Fire TV Cube will start shipping to customers on October 25 and cost $139.99.
We need this!
Rausch just announced a product that he says gets more use in his house than any Fire TV device he's ever owned.
The remote you have to try to lose
Alexa Voice Remote Pro is a new Remote Finder feature that allows customers to ask Alexa to help them find the remote when they can’t. The remote also comes with a new backlighting, which makes it easier to find and use in the dark.
More Alexa Voice Remote Pro features
The remote also comes with two programmable buttons users can set up to launch their favorite streaming apps or to create shortcuts for any Alexa command, like a Routine, with the simple press of a button. “In my house, we’ve programmed one of these buttons to start a Routine that closes the blinds, dims the lights, and announces to the whole house that it’s family movie night,” Rausch said. The Alexa Voice Remote Pro will be available this November for $34.99.
Meet Alexa Voice Remote Pro for @amazonfiretv.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 28, 2022
If a customer misplaces it, they can say "Alexa, find my remote" and the built-in speaker will ring. It also has customizable buttons for shortcuts to fave apps or any command @alexa99 can do. pic.twitter.com/wwMn5G7MaP