Amazon kicked off its annual Fall Devices Event today, revealing its generative AI plans and offering a slew of Alexa and Echo announcements, Fire TV streaming news, and updates to Amazon’s smart home gear, like its Blink and Ring cameras and a new, yet very expensive, Wi-Fi system called eero.
It’s a lot to digest, to say the least, so we’ve summed up the most important parts for you.
New Alexa features
Generative AI model
The biggest news that Amazon announced was its improvements to Alexa around generative AI. The company plans to use a new generative AI model based on a new, custom-built LLM model that’s optimized for voice interactions. Amazon will also bring new smart home experiences to make Alexa even easier to interact with.
- Conversational interactions that take into account body language, gestures and eye contact.
- Can combine multiple requests into one interaction.
- Continue conversations without using the wake word “Alexa.”
- A more natural-sounding voice.
- Expressive responses, including laughter, excitement, empathy and listening sounds like “uh-huhs.”
- These new capabilities will soon be available to customers in the U.S. through a free preview on Echo devices they already own.
Amazon introduced its first Alexa feature that supports users with mobility or speech disabilities. Eye Gaze allows customers with Fire TV Max 11 tablets to glance at their device to play music, make calls and access smart home controls. The feature will roll out later this year to users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan.
Alexa Emergency Assist
Alexa Emergency Assist is a new subscription service that enables users to access emergency services through Echo devices. The subscription costs $5.99 per month or $59 per year.
Map View allows customers to create a digital map of their house so they can pin their connected devices and control them from the Alexa mobile app. This eliminates the need to visualize the entire home and all your devices instead of scrolling through a list of device names. The feature will be available on the app in the U.S. later this year. It will arrive to Echo Hub early next year.
In addition to Eye Gaze, Call Translation is another new accessibility feature. Now Alexa audio and video calls can be captioned in real time. With this feature, Amazon hopes it can help more users break down language barriers as well as help customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
This feature will launch later this year in Echo Show and the Alexa mobile app in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain in more than 10 languages such as English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.
Amazon Echo Show 8
The first announcement that Amazon made during its fall event was its new Amazon Echo Show 8. The new smart Alexa device features a new adaptive content feature, improved audio and video calling, room adaptation tech, and custom-built spatial audio.
Echo Show 8 costs $149 and will be released sometime in October. Preorders are available today.
Echo Hub is a new wall-mounted, smart home control panel powered by Alexa that features a touch-enabled display with a customizable dashboard for easy smart home management as well as access to the security system, organizable widgets, and the ability to view multiple camera snapshots or live views on screen simultaneously. It costs $179.
Echo Pop Kids
The new Echo Pop Kids will come in two designs — Marvel’s Avengers and Disney Princess, so kids can interact with different characters, such as greetings, fun facts and jokes. Echo Pop Kids costs $49.99 and will ship to users in the U.S. next month.
Plus, Amazon announced a new “Explore with Alexa” feature coming to Amazon Kids+. The feature is designed for users to have curiosity-driven and kid-friendly conversations with Alexa.
The next-gen Echo Frames are 15% thinner than the previous generation and come in seven different styles, including prescription-ready sunglasses and blue light lens options. The Alexa-powered glasses will also have enhanced speech processing, improved noise isolation and a longer battery life that delivers up to six hours on a full charge. The new Echo Frames are priced at $269.99.
Fire TV updates
Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen)
The second-generation Fire TV Stick 4K is under $50 and has support for Wi-Fi 6. It also has an updated 1.7 GHZ quad-core processor, making it nearly 30% more powerful than the previous version.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd Gen)
For the first time, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max will feature the Fire TV Ambient Experience — so when users aren’t streaming, they’ll get an Alexa-powered smart display on their TV. The device also features an upgraded 2.0 GHz quad-core processor.
Fire TV Soundbar
The Fire TV-branded soundbar works with any Fire TV device and supports both DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Audio. There’s also a function that allows users to connect to the soundbar using a phone or tablet over Bluetooth. The 24-inch soundbar has a $119.99 price tag.
AI-powered search and artwork
The company also debuted new AI features such as an AI-powered search experience that combines generative AI with Fire TV’s content library so customers can ask Alexa questions about TV shows and movies and have more natural conversations around various topics like specific actors and directors as well as favorite scenes and genres.
Notably, there will also be an AI Art feature where customers can create artwork with their voices.
Ring and Blink products
There were a few Ring- and Blink-related announcements as well. Some highlights include the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro, which features radar-based 3D Motion Detection and other features like Bird’s Eye Zones and Bird’s Eye View. There will be an indoor and outdoor camera, which has three power options: Battery, Plug-in and Solar.
Meanwhile, Blink introduced its first system hub, Sync Module Pro, a $49 add-on that offers “extended range” for Blink Outdoor 4, which means you can place your cameras farther away for more coverage. There’s also a $159 Outdoor 4 Floodlight Camera package, which pairs the Blink Outdoor 4 camera with a floodlight mount.
Eero Max 7
The company also unveiled the new version of its eero mesh Wi-Fi system, the eero Max 7. It is Amazon’s first Wi-Fi 7 mesh system and combines “TrueMesh” networking technology to increase speeds and avoid interference. Now, with 10 gigabit Ethernet, users can download a 4K movie in 10 seconds or a 50GB video game in less than a minute.
Eero Max 7 has a one-pack option for $599.99, a two-pack for $1,149.99, and a three-pack for $1,699.99.