Amazon has unveiled Astro at the Amazon event, an Alexa-enabled home robot that can roll around your house and let you use Amazon's virtual assistant pretty much wherever you go.
The Astro is also designed to intelligently monitor your home while you’re away, and you can remotely send Astro to check on specific rooms, people, or things. This robot can even bring you a drink or toss treats to your dog with the right accessories.
Here's everything Amazon announced about the Astro, including the release date, price and all the features of this robot.
Amazon Astro release date and price
The Astro is part of Amazon's Day 1 Edition program; it will be available on Amazon for $999 for early invitees, with a free six-month trial of Ring Protect Pro (which costs $20 per month after). Later, the Astro will cost $1,499.
Amazon says it will start shipping the Astro in limited quantities to customers later this year.
Amazon Astro: Design
The Amazon Astro is a small, three-wheeled robot that stands about a foot off the ground. The front two wheels are somewhat large, with a third wheel in the back to provide stabilization. It's mostly white, with a few black accents here and there.
The front of the Astro has a display that looks to be about 10 inches in size. The display, which has a camera built in, is mounted on a rotating pedestal, so it can turn and angle towards the person who's speaking to it.
The display has two "eyes" on its front that wink and blink; this, combined with some movements of the display itself, help give Astro a bit of personality, and make it seem less like a surveillance camera on wheels.
Even more clever is a periscope that rises up 42 inches, so that you can get a better view of things higher up — such as to see if someone left the stove on, or if you left your keys on the counter.
The Astro weighs about 20 poundsand can move at around 1 meter per second. On the back of the Astro is a small cupholder, so you can use it to deliver beverages to others in the house. I can see this being very handy on game days.
Amazon Astro: Features
The Astro is more or less Alexa on wheels; everything that you can do with, say, the Amazon Echo Show 10, you'll be able to do on the Astro, such as listening to music, playing movies, looking up recipes and more. Not surprisingly, the Astro works with Drop-In, so you can chat with friends and family on video calls. The robot will even follow you around during chats.
You'll also be able to motor the Astro around your house using an app on your phone, so you can remotely check in on things while you're away. You can also set the Astro to patrol your home at night, or when you're not at home. It can even send you an alert if if sees someone it doesn't recognize.
As with the new Amazon Echo Show 15, the Astro has Visual ID, so you can train it to recognize specific family members. The data is stored on the robot, rather than in the cloud.
Astro owners can set out-of-bounds areas they don't want the robot to go into, and a physical button for the microphone and cameras can disable those devices.
Amazon Astro: Outlook
Like the Ring Always Home Cam, the Amazon Astro is an ambitious smart home device that borders between clever and creepy. The relatively small size of the Astro, coupled with its "personality," makes it far more approachable than larger home robots.
As Amazon said during its event, the Astro is the first of what will be many home robots coming in the future. Like its namesake in The Jetsons, Astro is a portent of what's to come.
If you want to get more of our thoughts then here are 3 reasons to buy and 3 reasons to skip the Amazon Astro.