Amazon’s latest hardware event brought us a slew of new Echo speakers with strange spherical designs, improved Fire TV devices, and a new Echo Show smart display that can follow you around the room.
However, the main announcement was the launch of a new games streaming service. The service, called Amazon Luna, is a new competitor to Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now – and it’s quite exciting to say the least.
However, there were many smaller announcements that were just as exciting, including security drones that can roam your home and Alexa Skills that suit your kids.
In case you’ve missed some of these hidden gems, we’ve rounded up five exciting announcements from the Amazon 2020 event that may have gone under the radar (see what we did there?)
Alexa is going to be kid-friendly
You may be (understandably) dazzled by the new designs of Amazon’s latest Echo speakers, but Alexa voice assistant has gotten some nifty upgrades too.
Alexa now has the ability to recognize when it interacts with children, and can automatically switch to a child’s profile when it detects a child’s voice – and that ability works with any Echo speaker, not just the all-new one Echo Dot Kids Edition speakers that are on their way to the US.
Alexa’s customized children’s experience means your kids can ask Alexa questions, set animal-themed audible alarms, get homework help, and call pre-approved friends and family.
Alexa can now help with homeschooling too – something more of us need to try because of the Covid-19 pandemic. A new feature called Reading Sidekick means Alexa can take turns reading with your child, as well as “providing support when they are struggling,” the tech giant said.
The new Echo Show can monitor your home
Amazon has announced its latest smart display, the all-new Echo Show 10 at its hardware event – and it can keep an eye on your home while you’re away.
With a built-in 13 MP camera, the new Echo Show 10 has a display that can move independently – and not only can follow you as you move around your room, so you’re not stuck in one place while making video calls, but it can too if you are not at home, go through your room to detect intruders.
This also allows the Show to double as a security camera, allowing you to watch a live feed of your home from another Echo Show or the Alexa app on your phone. Amazon says you can also “rotate the screen remotely to look around the room”.
When you put Alexa Guard in Away Mode, you can also get smart alerts if the camera detects someone nearby while you’re away – and Amazon says that for “added peace of mind, [the] Echo Show will periodically pan across the room to see if anyone is in the field of view ”.
Worried about being spied on? The all-new Echo Show 10 comes with a camera shutter, and you can turn off motion at any time by sliding that shutter, adjusting the settings on the device or in the Alexa app, or just saying, “Alexa, turn off movement. “
Ring now has a drone flying through your house
No, this isn’t a late-April joke – Amazon’s home security brand Ring has a new drone-based camera that can actually fly through your house and keep an eye on things while you’re away.
The Always Home Cam comes with a 1080p camera and allows you to see multiple viewpoints of your home while flying on a preset route.
Once you’ve created a route for the Always Home Cam to follow, it can fly on demand or be set to fly when a paired Ring Alarm system detects a fault. It can only record in flight, because the charging station blocks the camera’s view – and it makes noise while flying, so you know if you’re being filmed (phew).
Amazon Luna gets the first day that Ubisoft comes out
The game streaming world has just gotten yet another competitor, this time from Amazon, called Amazon Luna – and major titles like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will be available the day they launch (November 10, 2020, in this case ).
Other first-day releases available on Amazon Luna include Immortals: Fenyx Rising and Far Cry 6, hinting that Amazon has partnered with Ubisoft that will likely expand to more games.
Amazon Luna will compete against established players in the streaming space such as Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now, other services that let you play games directly from cloud servers without having to download them first.
Fire TV is getting a much-needed new user interface
Amazon has announced a new generation of Fire TV Stick, as well as a cheaper Lite version of the streaming dongle, but we’re more interesting in the highly anticipated upgrades coming to the Fire TV UI.
Now there are profiles for each member of your family, which can be customized for each viewer, as well as a new navigation bar with each profile’s favorite apps, making it much easier to navigate the interface.
Another new feature that Amazon showed was Picture in Picture mode, which allows you to watch a separate video in the corner of your main content. This means you can see a delivery coming through your Ring doorbell without interrupting your TV program, giving you the peace of mind that a package has arrived without answering the door.
Being able to watch intermittent TV was somewhat of a theme with the upgraded user interface; Now, when you ask Alexa a question, the answers are now displayed in small visual cards, which don’t take over the entire screen. Finally, there’s a new Alexa hub in the Fire TV interface, making it easier to understand, control, and personalize your virtual assistant.