Everything that was announced at the Amazon Devices event 2020.
• Amazon Luna game streaming service arrives to take on Arcade, Steam et al. And perhaps, longer term, Xbox and PlayStation. Amazon promises deep Twitch integration and a controller that can connect and switch seamlessly between TVs, phones, tablets etc.
• New Ring devices include Ring Always Home, which is a FLYING goddamn home security DRONE.
• There's also three new car security devices, including one for filming events that unfold after you are pulled over by the police or others.
• New Echo Show 10 (2020) sits on a mechanised base to track users around the room in video chats. It's Zoom compatible, too.
• New Echo 2020 and Echo Dot 2020 have a spherical shape, improved sound and Alexa responds faster than ever. Kids' versions of the Dot come in extremely cute skins.
• You can now communicate with Alexa in a more 'natural' way, and more than one person can speak to it at once.
• Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 added to Amazon's mesh Wi-Fi range with the Pro model including Zigbee support.
• A new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite give greater processing power at a lower price.
The Amazon Devices event is about to start. Unlike most recent launch events, only important people – such as the editorial team of T3 – are invited to this Amazon Echo and Fire TV event. But don't worry, we will be there, typing extremely fast as Amazon announces a plethora of new Amazon devices – Echo speakers, Amazon Fire TV devices and probably a few surprises, like a coat hanger with Alexa in, or whatever.
Amazon Echo speakers have taken the world by storm, while Amazon Fire TV boxes and sticks have helped keep the world entertained during lockdown. As well know, Amazon Prime Day has been delayed this year, and you can't have Amazon Prime Day without a load of Amazon devices to sell at temptingly discounted prices.
Amazon Devices event LIVE
Holy crap, it was impossible for one human to keep up with that. Feel very grateful that you were not invited, and a highly paid professional was there to take it all in.
Amazon's breathless torrent of innovation, crammed into barely 45 minutes, made this month's Apple or the PS5 and Xbox Series X next-gen console launches look like someone droning on about a new type of wheelbarrow, over a leisurely lunch.
Amazon Luna, Amazon Echo 2020 and everything else announced today at the Amazon Event
PS5 and Xbox Series X fans: Luna is Amazon's venture into game streaming, with support from Ubisoft and, no doubt, some other people. The controller is designed to pair seamlessly as you move from playing on your phone to playing on your TV, or whatever other devices you own. You can discover a new game from your favourite Twitch streamer and drop straight into it, apparently.
If Amazon is serious about leveraging its knowledge of streaming, selling and connectivity into the gaming world, this could be like when Sony launched the original PlayStation and wiped out market leader Sega. And if it's not all that serious, it's still bad news for Apple Arcade and Google Stadia.
The Amazon Luna controller is designed to pair seamlessly with all your devices, from working as a docked controller on your phone, to a fast, wireless (I think? The launch was quite a blur) connection to your TV.
To be fair, the only software partner mentioned in the extremely brief launch was Ubisoft. But Ubisoft is still quite a big deal, right? If nothing else, it means Far Cry and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla can be on Luna, and there will be '100+' games at launch.
Luna is initially available in the US-only while Amazon hammers out licensing and technical issues for the rest of the world.
Ring Always Home camera is also coming. This is a home-based camera drone for security. Okay. Oh and it flies! Yes, it's a small, autonomous, home security, camera drone. No word on what laser weaponry it will have. It's US only for now.
There's a new Amazon Echo and a new Echo Dot. The Echo 2020 is a sphere with improved sound. The Echo Dot 2020 is also in a spherical form, replacing the old puck. It looks much nicer, and 'fits in the palm of your hand'. Even better, there's an Echo Dot Kids Edition, with very cute tiger and panda 'cases'. I was going to say tiger and panda 'skins' but I decided that would sound quite bad.
The new Echo Show sits on a base with a brushless motor that allows it to silently track you with its camera as you move around. This is for video calling rather than anything sinister, so relax guys. Amazon's spokesman is at pains to say that Amazon is more focussed than ever on privacy.
A new Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite give greater processing power, HD visuals with HDR at a lower price. It is not clear what the difference between the two models is.
Amazon Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 are added to the mesh Wi-Fi range with the Pro model including Zigbee support.
Ring has a lot more new products to add to its ever-expanding range of camera and security products. coming in early 2021 are Car Alarm, which is what it sounds like. Just plug it in and you'll get notifications when someone tries to break in. And presumably an audio alarm happens.
Ring Car Cam is the same thing but with visuals. It will also start recording if your car is being 'pulled over', via a voice command. Being stopped by the police or other authorities? Just say 'Alexa, I'm being pulled over' and it'll start filming what happens. So that is an interesting idea. Amazon's Ring spokeswoman diplomatically stopped short of saying why it might be handy to be able film law enforcement when they stop your car. This product is US only for now.
Ring Car Connect is the same thing but using existing camera and connectivity systems in your Tesla. It's US only for now.
Alexa got upgrades
Arguably more useful than all of the above in the long term, Alexa now responds quicker and can be taught by you. It uses 'deep learning' to detect the parts of your instructions that it doesn't understand, and asks you to explain what you mean.
The general idea is that you can interact with Alexa in a more human way, without always using the wake word, and with the option for more than one person to speak to Alexa in a 'conversation'. This could be great, or it could be like training a bad dog.
Alexa can now monitor for new sounds via Amazon Guard. These include snoring and babies crying.
Care Hub expands Alexa/Echo as a means to keep an eye on elderly relatives and other people you are caring for.
And we're off! Amazon's spokesman is called Dave Limp. No really. He is an optimist, despite the current difficult times.
His opening gambit is that speech – to Alexa – will become less important as our 'ambient homes' become more intuitive and understanding of our needs. A relief for anyone who has to speak to Alexa on a regular basis for sure.
Now we're on the environment bit. The new Echo and Fire TV devices are more eco-friendly than ever in terms of packaging and whatnot. Energy save modes will be on all new devices and the amount of energy used by Echo devices will now be matched by Amazon using renewable sources. Okay.
Mic CHECK 1-2. So there's 10 minutes to go at this point and there's not a great deal going on if I'm being honest. The 'on-hold' music so far is M83 and that sort of thing. Tasteful. It's quite hard to convey the excitement of an event you can't see, and I am just watching in a window on my iMac.
You can scroll down now to see what we are predicting Amazon will launch today. It'll be mainly correct.
What time is the Amazon Devices event?
The September 2020 Amazon Devices event starts at 18:00hrs BST (that's 1PM EDT, 10AM PDT)*.
How can you watch the Amazon Devices event, you ask? You can't. Sorry. But don't worry, we'll bring you all the breaking Echo and Fire TV news, as it breaks.
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What will be announced at the Amazon Devices event?
We would expect to see some, most or all of the following.
New Amazon Ring – with security on everyone's minds, there may well be new Ring security camera devices on show.
New Amazon Echo – with a clock and improved audio? Quite conceivably.
New Amazon Echo Dot – could perhaps feature better sound and a new look.
New Amazon Echo Show – We can't imagine they can create any more screen sizes for this, but an image overhaul is arguably overdue.
New Alexa – there is a possibility of more voice options, including celebrity ones. There's likely to be hot new services announced too. And Alexa will no doubt be wowing us with new examples of her fierce sass and 'hilarious' 'jokes'.
Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Video updates. This feels like a thing that could happen.
New Fire TV 4K Stick – okay it is hard to see what could be added to this, but what the hell. A processor improvement and OS overhaul never hurt anyone.
New Amazon Echo Buds – longer battery life and improved audio? Yes please.
New Amazon Echo Studio – or similar, Sonos-style speakers intended for home cinema and music listening as much as for channelling Alexa.
Quite possibly, we could see Amazon Echo Over Ear Headphones and an Amazon Soundbar. That also suggests the possibility of Amazon Dolby Atmos rear surround speakers. Hey, why not?
Almost certainly, we will see a few weird new things that you hadn't previously expected to see Alexa in. A coat hanger, or whisk perhaps. Or maybe a hat. Anything is possible. However, some of these may be on Amazon's invite only programme – like the Amazon Halo pictured above – so don't get too excited.
Amazon Eero – if Amazon does release a new mesh Wi-Fi box, that might not be quite the last word in excitement.
Will we see a new Echo Spot, Kindle or Fire Tablet? No. No, we won't. The Spot seems to have not been quite the hit Amazon hoped for, perhaps due to the limitations of a round screen when it comes to watching video clips. And Amazon's tablets and ebook readers usually get their own launch events.
Don't panic! We will be here from the start of the Amazon Devices event, to reveal what Amazon actually announces.