So what can we expect at this year's Amazon event, scheduled for Sept. 25? I don't think it will be as product-packed as last year, but here are some devices I think Amazon is likely to debut.
A new, better-sounding Amazon Echo
I don't think Amazon is going to come out with an updated version of its flagship Amazon Echo speaker, as the company waited three years between the first and second generations. But I do think Amazon could debut an Echo with more-premium audio capabilities that would compete more directly with the excellent Sonos One.
Bloomberg also reported on rumors of a high-end Echo in July, and given that Amazon recently announced the Amazon Music's new high-definition audio-streaming service, a speaker that can take advantage of lossless audio would certainly make sense. Blake Kozak, a senior principal analyst at IHS Markit, concurs. "This year, I would expect to see Amazon launch a product that can compete with the likes of Sonos, Apple and the Google Home Max," he told Tom's Guide.
However, Carolina Milanese, an analyst for Creative Strategies, is a little more skeptical. "I am not sure about a better speaker to compete with Sonos, as they are a good partner of Amazon already and Amazon has not established itself as a sound-first experience," she said.
"I'm expecting new products to take advantage of the new, higher-resolution Music HD streaming service that Amazon just announced," said Avi Greengart, the lead analyst for Techsponential, who will be at Amazon's event. In addition to new speakers, Greengart said that rumors around Amazon's first set of headphones also seem plausible.
Update (9/23): Amazon will unveil a set of wireless earbuds that can also track distance, pace, and calories, according to CNBC.
Battery-powered Alexa speaker
I also wouldn't be surprised to see a portable Echo speaker; Amazon hasn't come out with a replacement for the Tap since it was discontinued more than a year ago. There are a number of portable smart speakers with Alexa, including the Sonos Move, the Bose Portable Home Speaker, and the Ultimate Ears Megablast, but none of them have all of Alexa's capabilities, such as the ability to make phone calls.
"[A] portable speaker or something that will take Alexa in the garden makes also a lot of sense, both from a music and home-automation [perspective]," said Milanese. "It could even be a Wi-Fi extender that works outside."
Smart light bulbs (and other cheap stuff)
Considering Amazon debuted a smart plug last year, I wouldn't be surprised if the company announced its own smart light bulb. Amazon already sells nonsmart LED bulbs, so an expansion into smart bulbs would make a lot of sense. If the company came out with a smart power strip, that would also be a logical extension of the Amazon smart plug. Plus, it would be a good thing for Amazon to bundle with an Echo speaker.
"If Amazon is getting into connected lighting, I hope that it won't just make cheap bulbs, but will have an innovative solution to the key obstacle for mainstream acceptance, which is keeping wall switches usable while maintaining power to the bulbs," Greengart said.
There's a good chance that Amazon will announce other inexpensive connected devices that will connect directly and easily to its Echo Plus smart speaker. "But with ultra-low-cost devices coming from the likes of Wyze and others, these Amazon peripherals would likely be very small form factor (door/window sensors) and ultra-low cost," said Kozak.
Alexa connected coffee maker
Amazon's Alexa-connected microwave was a fun surprise at last year's event, and though there's not a ton of time saved by asking Alexa to pop you a bag of popcorn — how hard is it to press the "popcorn" button? — this $59 fun cooker was priced to move.
Amazon currently sells a $15 coffee maker, but that's a "dumb" device. Add Alexa compatibility and boost the price to $29, and you've got something that's far more practical to use with Amazon's voice assistant.
"Alexa, am I sick?" Wearables with Alexa built in — like the Fitbit Versa 2 — may soon be more commonplace and able to keep tabs on your vitals. "Earlier this year, Amazon announced it was Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant, which means Alexa (Amazon) can now be trusted with health records, well beyond basic skills that health facilities have used for many years," Kozak said. Whether consumers will trust Amazon with their health records is another matter.