Amazon unveils Astro smart home robot, 15-inch Echo Show, and more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 29
Amazon has unveiled a new slate of smart products, including a home robot named Astro, a TV-sized Amazon Echo Show, and new Halo fitness services and hardware.

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon


The retail giant on Tuesday announced a wide range of new hardware and services at a press-only event. Here are some of the things that Amazon showed off.

Astro home robot

The Astro is a friendly-looking robot designed to roam around an owner's house. It's a wheeled device equipped with a rotating screen, camera, microphone, and motion sensors.

According to Amazon, the Astro can deliver reminders or play TV shows or podcasts. It can only control smart home tasks, including via Alexa voice commands.

The Astro can also serve as a security device, patrolling a user's home and letting them keep an eye on their house when they're away. Like Amazon's Echo products, the Astro can also detect and notify users of broken glass or smoke alarms.

Of course, a mobile robot with cameras and microphones can carry privacy risks. Amazon says users can switch off the camera, microphone, and motion sensors with a physical button. Additionally, users can set "out of bound" zones where the Astro won't patrol.

The Astro will retail for $999.99. It's available via invitation only, though Amazon did not announce a release date.

Halo View

The Amazon Halo View fitness tracker. Credit: Amazon
The Amazon Halo View fitness tracker. Credit: Amazon


The retail juggernaut also unveiled a new health-tracking smartwatch meant to compete with existing products like the Apple Watch. The Halo View tracker sports a display for the first time, as well as all of the basic fitness tracking abilities you'd expect from a smart band.

Additionally, Amazon is expanding its suite of health-related services. Each Halo View comes with a one-year free subscription to Amazon's Halo platform, which now features fitness video classes.

In addition, the Halo subscription will also include a built-in nutrition trainer that can combine data from grocery lists with meal planning suggestions.

The Halo View will retail for $79.99 and should become available before the holidays.

Echo Show 15 and Amazon Glow

The Amazon Echo Show 15 is a TV-sized smart home device. Credit: Amazon
The Amazon Echo Show 15 is a TV-sized smart home device. Credit: Amazon


Amazon also unveiled a couple of more traditional smart home devices, including a TV-sized Echo Show product and a video calling device aimed at kids.

The so-called Echo Show 15 sports a 15.6-inch display. It can be hung vertically or horizontally on a wall, and Amazon characterizes it as a "kitchen TV, but much, much smarter."

It can control smart home devices, show security feeds from Ring products, and display how-to videos or recipes. Additionally, the Echo Show 15 can be customized with specific widgets like digital post-it notes, to-do-lists, and more.

The Echo Show 15 will launch later this year for $249.99.

Alongside the new Echo product, Amazon released related hardware called the Amazon Glow. The device is essentially a video calling camera that can project games onto a surface with a built-in projector.

The projected games and videos can respond to touch, and the entire product was created to make video calls more engaging for kids. At launch, the device will feature games made by Disney, Mattel, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street. It also has a "privacy shutter" that can disable the camera.

The Amazon Glow will cost $249, but it will only be available in an invitation-only testing program to start. Interested users can sign up to try it out today.

Other announcements

Amazon made other announcements at its press event Tuesday, including a voice command partnership with Disney and an $20-a-month elder care service.

Additionally, Amazon is also now inviting users to sign up for the Ring home security drone, which is a previously announced product. Basically, the device is a drone that can fly around a user's home to provide eyes and ears when they're away.

The company also debuted a new Smart Thermostat for $59.99 made in partnership with Honeywell. It competes with the likes of Google Nest.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    roakeroake Posts: 775member
    I think the two patrol robots (ground and flying) are interesting.  I wouldn’t hesitate to try them if privacy wasn’t an issue.  But in this day and age, where everything goes to remote servers and the government like to go fishing in private data, I have my reservations.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    roake said:
    I think the two patrol robots (ground and flying) are interesting.  I wouldn’t hesitate to try them if privacy wasn’t an issue.  But in this day and age, where everything goes to remote servers and the government like to go fishing in private data, I have my reservations.
    I have a question, and I hope I don't get yelled at for misbehaving on these boards again, but...your concern is the government? Really? Private companies and hackers is minor compared to 'the government'? What do you think would interest 'the government' exactly? (unless planning on blowing up people etc) I think the privacy issues are key issues for PRIVATE companies that provide crappy online security and allow massive data breaches. I have to admit, I rarely think 'the government' is worried about me. I think concerns about 'the government' reading your emails to your mom and dad are a bit X-Files.
    mike1ronngatorguyjony0
  • Reply 3 of 5
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,939member
    Cute toy. The concept is far from new, having used similar devices for remote presence since more than 6 years ago. 

    I’m sure someone will find something interesting and productive to do with these around the house, like yelling at the dog to get off the sofa when the owner is not home. Others will undoubtedly find something really creepy to do with them, unless Amazon releases an Astro “Predator” version all on their own to save them the extra effort.

    I know there are lots and lots of commercial applications that could benefit immensely from a roving surveillance robot. I can’t think of too many in-home uses for such a device that wouldn’t be more practical to solve using traditional network accessible stationary sensors, especially with multiple levels, stairs, and other obstacles involved. 

    An informal survey of one, the only other inhabitant of my home, was instantly met with a “NFW is that thing ever coming into our home.” I guess that’s a ‘no’ - at least for now.
    ronn
  • Reply 4 of 5
    roake said:
    I think the two patrol robots (ground and flying) are interesting.  I wouldn’t hesitate to try them if privacy wasn’t an issue.  But in this day and age, where everything goes to remote servers and the government like to go fishing in private data, I have my reservations.
    I have a question, and I hope I don't get yelled at for misbehaving on these boards again, but...your concern is the government? Really? Private companies and hackers is minor compared to 'the government'? What do you think would interest 'the government' exactly? (unless planning on blowing up people etc) I think the privacy issues are key issues for PRIVATE companies that provide crappy online security and allow massive data breaches. I have to admit, I rarely think 'the government' is worried about me. I think concerns about 'the government' reading your emails to your mom and dad are a bit X-Files.
    ..said the population of every society just prior to every authoritarian take over.

    Do you know anything about history?? I can't believe people actually think like this.
    roakewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    I can only imagine the worldwide conniptions on the blogosphere had Apple released something like this at a similar exorbitant price. 
    williamlondon
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