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Amazon event recap — Astro robot, Echo Show 15, Amazon Glow, Halo View and more

All the Alexa, Echo and Ring news from Amazon's September event

Amazon Astro debuted at Amazon event
(Image: © Amazon)

The Amazon event featured nearly a dozen major announcements for the company's Echo, Alexa, Ring and Blink brands. Plus it saw the introduction of Amazon Astro, a $999 rolling home robot with a periscope and digital eyes. 

In addition to a robot that's only kind-of creepy, Amazon revealed a new smart thermostat, a 15-inch mountable Echo Show, a kid-centric interactive projector, a fitness tracker with a display, several Blink devices, availability for its Ring Always-Home drone and a slew of service updates.  

Here's a closer look at everything Amazon announced at the Amazon event:

New Amazon products and services announced:

Amazon Astro: Smart home robot with wheels, a periscope and digital eyes
Amazon Echo Show 15: Mountable smart home display
Amazon Glow: Interactive projector for Kids
Amazon Smart Thermostat: Affordable Alexa thermostat
Amazon Halo View: Company's first fitness tracker with a display
Ring Always Home Cam: Availability update for indoor drone security camera
Ring Alarm Pro: Updated home security system with Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router
Ring Virtual Security Guard: New professional monitoring service
Blink Video Doorbell: Affordable video doorbell

@tomsguide

Is #amazon Astro cute, creepy or both? 👀 #robot #tech #alexa #ring

♬ ALMOST HOME - Mad Adix, Marc Steinmeier

Amazon Astro: Announced in "one more thing" style, Astro is home robot that rolls around to keep an eye on what's happening. When you're home Astro can act like an assistant, or help you keep an eye on a relative. When you're away, Astro is a Ring-powered security tool, complete with a periscope cam for seeing over countertops and house-mapping abilities. You can set off-limit zones and Do Not Disturb times, too. Astro is available by invitation-only now for $999, and is shipping before the end of this year.

Amazon Echo Show 15: Amazon's largest display yet is the Echo Show 15, a wall-mountable screen that reminds of Samsung's Family Hub, but without the fridge. It features a new interface for managing your household's shopping, scheduling and communication needs, complete with a faster AZ2 processor that supports visual ID. Visual ID lets the Echo Show 15 know you using the camera. Then, the display can show content personalized to your schedule or preferred content. The Echo Show 15 is coming later this year for $249.99.

Amazon Glow: Not to be confused with the Amazon Echo Glow smart lamp, the Amazon Glow is a standing projector designed to keep kids connected and entertainment. It spits out a 19-inch touch-sensitive space where kids can play all sorts of games including puzzles, drawings and card games. From the other end, the family member can call from their own smartphone or device and can take part in the activities using the Glow app. For young children, Amazon Glow also allows relatives to read along with them, with thousands of children’s books to choose from.  The Amazon Glow available at an early access price of $249.99 through Amazon's Day One program.

Amazon Smart Thermostat: The Amazon Smart Thermostat looks fairly simple compared to the best smart thermostats. The main face of the thermostat shows the temperature in large numbers, with up and down arrows beneath. In between the arrows is a small circle. Of course, the thermostat is compatible with Alexa, so you can set routines for your temperature needs throughout the day. It should work with most existing HVAC systems, too. It's coming soon in partnership with Honeywell Home for just $59.99, but with rebates from energy utilities, could end up being as cheap as $10. 

Amazon Halo View: The Amazon Halo is one of the best fitness trackers, but it didn't have a display for seeing your live workout metrics, the time and more. Now, the Amazon Halo View can do all that with 7 days of battery life, plus integration with new programs Halo Fitness and Halo Nutrition. Both programs are included in an Amazon Halo subscription, and round-out the company's wellness tracking tools. Halo View costs $79.99.

Ring Always Home Cam: Though this flying indoor security camera was announced last year, Amazon is finally sharing availability information. Invitation requests are open now, and those who gain access will spend $249.99.

Ring Alarm Pro: The Ring Alarm Pro updates the Ring Alarm home security system, Amazon's smart-device powered home security system and subscription monitoring program. It's a whole collection of devices, from door and window sensors to doorbell cameras and security cameras that can be placed around your property.With the Ring Alarm Pro update, the home security system is significantly upgraded by merging with an Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, giving you whole home Wi-Fi with speedy connectivity and network security as well as security for your physical home. You can pre-order the system today for $249.99.

Ring Virtual Security Guard: This new subscription service lets you add professional monitoring to your security cameras, so that a third-party monitoring service can look in on your camera's feeds if they detect motion. Virtual Security Guard is estimated to cost $99 per month. In order to use Virtual Security Guard, you will also have to be a Ring Alarm owner, and subscribe to either Ring Protect Pro or Ring Plus, which cost $200 and $100 per year, respectively. Customers can request an invitation to try Virtual Security Guard, starting now.

Ring Video Doorbell package detection: Among all Ring announcements at the Amazon Event was one crucial tidbit: Ring video doorbells are finally getting package detection. However, this feature won't be available on all Ring video doorbells. The feature will only be available initially on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Ring Video Doorbell (2020); the company says it hopes to make it available on more models next year. 

Blink Video Doorbell: The Blink Video Doorbell is interesting because you can use it as either a wired or wireless video doorbell. And, we like that it will work with existing doorbell chimes, which is something the Ring Video Doorbell Wired can't do. There are some compromises, though; the Blink Video Doorbell lacks person, package, and vehicle recognition, so you're likely to get more notifications. However, its low price may be enough for some to overlook its limitations. It costs just $49.99 and starts shipping October 21.

Hey, Disney: This new collaboration is centered around a version of Alexa called, "Hey Disney." In Disney Parks and Resorts, the Alexa-backed AI will soon connect guests with their favorite Disney characters. It caters the Alexa experience to Disney fans, improving guest experiences with park information, hotel services and more.

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Are you excited for today's Amazon event? We don't know much about what's coming during the keynote, but we're game for some fun surprises. Tom's Guide senior writer (and the voice of this live blog) Kate Kozuch took to Twitter yesterday to share some announcement predictions, given the air of mystery looming over the event. 

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She's optimistic about an Echo soundbar, as reported by Bloomberg. Her two other guesses include a portable Echo that can move around your home and a premium pair of over-ear headphones. Amazon already makes the Amazon Echo Buds and Amazon Echo Buds 2 — could the company expand its headset lineup?

We're about 20 minutes away from start time. Amazon has opened a virtual waiting room for the live stream, complete with a countdown timer and some tunes. Tom's Guide is currently jamming out to Khalid's "Better" — and we couldn't help but wonder, is anything better than techtember? 

Amazon event live blog, the countdown is on!

(Image credit: Future)

While we wait, let's go over some Amazon event history. This is the second year in a row the company's fall product event is virtual. Unlike Samsung, Google, Apple and many other big players, Amazon doesn't open its keynotes for public viewing. That said, Amazon will share news from the event on its own live blog. Though it's not as cool as ours, it's a good source for learning more about the services and devices being announced today. 

Before public safety precautions caused a shift to virtual events, Amazon regularly held a fall event in person. It's been held in the beautiful Amazon Spheres in Seattle, where following a presentation, members of the press can go hands-on with the new hardware. 

Hold up! Minutes before the Amazon event is due to kick off, a few press images seemed to have seeped into the waiting room. We only caught a glimpse, but it appears the company is announcing a new Amazon Halo product, some kind of thermostat and a Disney-branded Amazon Echo. 

The Amazon event is happening now! It opened with a cute montage of moments captured by Alexa and Ring cameras. Just goes to show how much these smart home devices are integrated into our lives. 

Let's talk Ambient Intelligence. Ambient Intelligence is when artificial intelligence (AI) adapts to your environment, helping you when you need it and receding into the background when you don't. So not only does Amazon's AI learn how to become smarter, but it learns how to grow to your life and needs. Creepy, or brilliant?

Time to talk privacy. According to Amazon, privacy is an opportunity for invention. Customers in the U.S. with the Echo Show 10 or latest Amazon Echo (4th Gen) can have all commands processed on-device without anything being sent to the cloud. 

Amazon just announced the Amazon Smart Thermostat in partnership with Honeywell Home for $59.99. Pretty competitive price, if you ask us. Of course, the thermostat is compatible with Alexa, so you can set routines for your temperature needs throughout the day. It should work with most existing HVAC systems, too.

Amazon Smart Thermostat, unveiled at Amazon's 2021 event

(Image credit: Amazon)

Meet the Amazon Echo Show 15, the company's biggest smart display yet. It's coming later this year for $249.99.

Pitched as a kitchen TV, the Echo Show 15 looks more like a smart picture frame or perhaps a Samsung Family Hub, minus the fridge. It can be wall-mounted, so you and your family can see all sorts of information and content easily.

The Amazon Echo Show 15 features a brand new user interface with Alexa widgets so you can customize the display to suit your family’s scheduling, dining and communication needs. The sticky note widget is especially cool. 

Amazon Echo Show 15, debuted at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

Another widget shows you controls for all the Alexa compatible devices you use most often. You can also see live Ring camera views, so you can check in on who’s at the door while you’re cooking or listening to music. 

The display offers 1080p streaming for watching the news or shows on Amazon Prime Video as well. Sling TV is coming to Echo Show devices soon, too. 

Lastly, the next-gen AZ2 processor in the new display allows for faster and smarter on-device processing. The AZ2 processor also supports visual ID, which lets the Echo Show 15 know you using the camera. Then, the display can show content personalized to your schedule or preferred content.

Now for Amazon Kids Plus announcements. Amazon Kids Plus members will get more content, including the Do Re Me show, a Super Spy Me mobile game, a Lego Monkie Kid show, and a Blippi's Treehouse series inspiring kids to be immersed in the world around them.

These shows and games will become available on Echo Show and Fire Tablet devices.

Wow, it looks like Amazon filmed this part of the keynote at Disneyland in California. Boy, do we wish we were there.

A new collaboration is centered around a version of Alexa called, "Hey Disney." In Disney Parks and Resorts, the Alexa-backed AI connects guests with their favorite Disney characters. It caters the Alexa experience to Disney fans, improving guest experiences with park information, hotel services and more.

Hey Disney voices at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

You can purchase Hey Disney separately, too. Though the partnership is clearly designed to enhance the resort and park experiences, users will have the chance to bring a bit of the magic to Echo speakers at home. Will you complete the experience with a Mickey-themed Echo Show stand?

Mickey inspired stand in Echo Show 5 shown off at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

What the heck is Amazon Glow? No, not the Amazon Echo Glow smart light — Amazon Glow is a weird stand-up device with a built-in projector, pitched as a way for kids to stay connected to grandparents or friends with interactive games and activities. 

We've truly never seen a smart display like the Amazon Glow. It merges physical and digital objects, along with object scanning, in an ambitious attempt to help kids stay simultaneously creative and social. 

Amazon Glow debuted at Amazon Event

(Image credit: Amazon)

As for content, Amazon has sourced videos and games from Disney, Mattel, Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop. It plans to work with other kid-friendly companies going forward, and is opening an SDK to developers.

Amazon Glow debuted at Amazon Event

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Amazon Glow is going live through the company's Day One program, letting those who receive invites purchase the new display for an early access price of $249.99.

Amazon Halo is getting a slew of updates, starting with Halo View, a $79.99 fitness tracker with a display. As you might recall, the original Amazon Halo is a good fitness tracker but doesn't show you the time or any workout metrics. Now, the Amazon Halo View looks more like a Fitbit, with an AMOLED display and 7 days of battery life.

Amazon Halo View debuting at Amazon Event

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Halo View comes with a one year membership of the Amazon Halo service, which normally costs a monthly fee. The service is being updated with two key programs: Halo Fitness and Halo Nutrition.

Halo Fitness is a workout service with hundreds of studio-quality workouts led by industry experts. It also integrates with hardware for real-time metrics. Halo Fitness is rolling out later this year.

Halo Nutrition is a healthy-eating service with a meal planner that pulls from hundreds of recipes from trusted nutrition brands. The service offers pre-curated weekly menus, complete with a grocery list that merges with your Alexa shopping list. Halo Nutrition is coming early next year.

Amazon Halo Fitness at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Ring Always Home cam drone is back, and this time you can actually order it through Amazon's Day One program for $249.99. If you've ever wanted an indoor drone that can fly around your house to check on things while you're away, this must be the Ring device you've been waiting for.

Ring Always Home Cam at Amazon Event

(Image credit: Amazon)

Another Ring announcement, and this one is less... drone-y. The Ring Alarm Pro updates the Ring Alarm home security system, Amazon's smart-device powered home security system and subscription monitoring program. It's a whole collection of devices, from door and window sensors to doorbell cameras and security cameras that can be placed around your property.

Ring Alarm Pro at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

With the Ring Alarm Pro update, the home security system is significantly upgraded by merging with an Eero Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, giving you whole home Wi-Fi with speedy connectivity and network security as well as security for your physical home. The combination should protect your home inside and out, and give you a great Wi-Fi experience that also serves as the backbone for all of your ring devices.

Astro costs $999 and is available starting today by invitation-only through Amazon's Day One program. Are you requesting one? 

Amazon Astro debuted at Amazon event

(Image credit: Amazon)

That's a wrap on this Amazon event! Thanks for following along. Stay tuned for further coverage of all the products and services announced today. If you need us, we'll be contemplating whether a $999 rolling robot with eyes will actually keep our home safe, or just terrorize our pets.