Amazon Alexa Event Sept 2019 – FI

16 New Products Amazon Introduced at Todays Launch Event – Earbuds, Glasses, a Ring, and More

Amazon hosted its annual product launch event today where it is showcasing new products, revisions to old products, and new features. Here In the smart home and smart speaker categories, Amazon largely stuck to incremental innovation. The biggest news is that Amazon is expanding into the wearable category with three new products.

Number Product Name Price Category What Matters
1 Echo Buds $129.99 Wearable New – These smart earbuds launch Amazon into the wearable category with a true on-the-go solution for Alexa users. Amazon’s biggest weakness in continued Alexa adoption is its lack of a smartphone platform. Echo Buds offer a way for Alexa to be always listening for user needs even when not at home. They also come with noise-canceling technology provided by Bose and high-quality sound. These will begin shipping on October 30th.
2 Echo Frames $179.99 Wearable New – The Financial Times reported in 2017 that Amazon was working on smart glasses, but not much has been heard since. Alexa is embedded in Focals smart glasses by North and the Alexa Fund invested in the company. However, these are audio-only smart glasses more similar to the Bose Frames glasses which they position as augmented reality. The key difference is voice activation with Alexa always available. This space is heating up with news of Facebook working with Ray-Ban on smart glasses. Echo Frames offer Amazon another wearable inroad for on-the-go users that may not want ear buds. These are available now by invitation only. The list price will be $249.99 after the introductory period.
3 Echo Loop $129.99 Wearable New – Amazon’s third entry into the wearables category is a ring. However, this ring has Amazon Alexa access and seems like a smart speaker on your finger. With said, the form factor requires a small speaker and microphone so it’s not clear how this replaces other devices other than for quick tasks and smart home controls. More likely this is designed as an input device for your Alexa-based smartphone app. That is a way to get around the fact that Amazon doesn’t have a native mobile OS-based assistant. Echo Loop is also invitation only. The introductory period list price of $129.99 will rise to $179.99 when the product becomes generally available.
4 Echo Studio $199.99 Speaker New – Bloomberg reported over the summer that Amazon was working on a premium smart speaker to better compete with Apple HomePod and Google Home Max. Of course, this also puts the new Amazon device on a collision course with Alexa partners Sonos and Bose. The premium smart speaker segment has quickly become crowded and it reflected a gap in Amazon’s smart speaker product line. Last year, the Echo Sub (as in subwoofer) was introduced as a stop-gap. That is designed to pair with standard Echo smart speakers. Echo Studio has both bigger bass and better high-end fidelity with a three-dimensional audio experience driven by Dolby Atmos technology. It is available for pre-order and will ship on November 7th and offers Amazon a true, premium smart speaker in its line-up but with pricing at the same level as Sonos and below the other competitors.
5 All New Echo $99.99 Speaker Update – The Amazon Echo smart speaker is now in its 3rd edition. The changes in this update focus on better sound quality and revised styling. To address sound quality, the company converted the higher-end Echo Plus features and embedded them in the new Echo. Amazon also updated the styling by adding a fabric cover similar to what you find in the Echo Dot 3rd generation and Echo Plus 2nd generation. The device is available for pre-order and will ship on October 16th.
6 Echo Show 8 $129.99 Display New – Amazon introduced the Echo Show 2nd generation last year with a 10-inch screen and added the Echo Show 5 with a 5.5-inch screen in May 2019. Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch screen and fills out Amazon’s smart display portfolio with screens that will fit in just about any counter space. Most of Amazon’s display efforts seems to be headed toward the Fire TV product line and other smart TVs, but Echo Show 8 fills that gap for a screen where televisions have a harder time fitting it. The kitchen is a key focus for the product use cases. The devices is available today for pre-order and will begin shipping on November 21st.
7 Echo Dot with Clock $59.99 Speaker Update – Amazon senior vice president David Limp said that one of the most popular uses for Alexa-enabled devices is to ask the time. So, the company is adding a digital clock face to the side of a new update to Echo Dot. The best-selling smart speaker will still be available without the clock, but it is another option for consumers, particularly those that plan to use it in the bedroom. The Echo Dot with Clock also has a touch-sensitive top that when touched will automatically set a 9-minute snooze for an alarm. The new speaker is available today for pre-order and will begin shipping on October 16th.
8 Echo Glow $29.99 Smart Home New – This orb is really a novelty lamp. You can use Alexa to activate the light and change its color. It is also touch-sensitive which can also be used to change colors. Echo Glow was introduced alongside several new features and services aimed at children and you can imagine it at home alongside the colorful Echo Dot Kids Edition. The smart light is available for pre-order and will begin shipping on November 20th.
9 Echo Flex $24.99 Smart Home New – Echo Flex is simply an Alexa input device with a small microphone and speaker that you plug directly into an electrical outlet. This is a simple way to ensure you have Alexa access in any room and even in hallways where you might want to quickly control a smart home device. It resembles a device that Nvidia was marketing back in 2017 but never brought to market. Echo Flex probably won’t replace smart speakers, but might simply expand the locations where users seek to have Alexa access.  It is available today for pre-order and will ship on November 14th.
10 Echo Flex Motion Sensor $14.99 Smart Home New – Echo Flex Motion Sensor is sold by Amazon but is actually built by partner THRIDREALITY. It is an accessory for Echo Flex that plugs into the bottom and is designed to kick off routines for Alexa-enabled smart home devices such as turning on a light or starting a coffee maker. You can pre-order it today and it will begin shipping on November 14th along with Echo Flex.
11 Echo Flex Smart Night Light $24.99 Smart Home New – The smart night light is another accessory for the Echo Flex that plugs into the bottom and as you’d expect, shines a light. This will also begin shipping on November 14th.
12 New Eero $99.99 Smart Home Update – Eero comes to the Amazon portfolio by way of acquisition in February 2019. Alexa and Amazon’s entire smart speaker and smart home product lines are dependent on reliable WiFi and Eero’s mesh network architecture is designed to make it easy to eliminate dead spots in the home. The update focuses on replicating Eero’s existing performance at a much lower price point. This device will be available sometime this year but is not available yet on the website. The new Eero will also be available in mainland Europe for €109 and the UK for £99.
13 Ring Alarm Kit Retrofit $199.99 Smart Home New – Home security is the big expansion area for Amazon’s Ring product line. Apparently, there are tens of millions of homes in the U.S. with home security boxes and wiring that is not currently in use. The Alarm Kit Retrofit is designed to offer a simple way for homeowners to implement Ring security products and take advantage of sensors and wiring that is already installed. The device is not yet available but will sell for $199 or $375 when bundled with a Ring Alarm Kit.
14 Ring Stick up Cam $99.99 Smart Home Update – The new Ring Stick up Cam is available in wired, battery-powered, and solar-powered models. It is designed to make it easy to place cameras anywhere in the home and builds on Ring’s expansion into a broader set of home security solutions. It is available for pre-order today and will ship on October 23rd.
15 Ring Indoor Cam $59.99 Smart Home New – The Ring Indoor Cam is a modified version of the Stick up Cam but for use only indoors. By removing the need to withstand the elements, the cost and size of the Indoor Cam has been reduced. It is available for order and shipment today.
16 Amazon Smart Oven $249.99 Smart Home New – The biggest headline of the 2018 Alexa product launch event was the Amazon Basics Microwave with Alexa. And, that product quickly became the number one selling microwave on The Amazon Smart Oven follows in those footsteps and adds convection oven and air fryer capabilities alongside a microwave and, of course, Alexa integration. Like last year’s microwave, the Amazon Smart Oven is really a reference product to demonstrate to appliance makers how they can employ Alexa Connect Kit to very quickly and inexpensively add Alexa to their devices. Smart home category sales rose 45% in 2018 and Amazon clearly wants to fuel more interest in the segment. The Smart Oven is available for pre-order today and will begin shipping on November 14th.

What the Products Say About Amazon’s Strategy

There will be few headlines in 2019 about the new Smart Oven despite the Amazon Microwave with Alexa being the biggest surprise of 2018. The smart glasses, Echo Frames, and earbuds, Echo Buds, launch Amazon into the wearables category in a big way and rightly will garner most of the coverage. Amazon’s biggest weakness today is its mobile strategy. Alexa Auto SDK is making progress but there are few people using the Alexa app while on-the-go. The wearables product line offers convenient Alexa access points for mobile users despite their lack of a mobile OS. This expansion is essential for Alexa to more deeply embed inside of consumers’ daily routines and ensure competing voice assistants cannot use those use cases as a wedge to displace Amazon’s assistant.

However, the smart home solutions may have a bigger short-term impact for Amazon because they instantly increase the value of many users’ existing Alexa investment and don’t require a significant change in behavior. These products also are not displacing a similar solution from Apple or Google but are additive or a substitute for solutions that are not “smart.” The Flex, Echo Studio, and new Ring and Eero products all provide incremental strength to Amazon’s “smart” product portfolio. And, the Smart Oven is the type of solution that can spur appliance makers to adopt Alexa which simply expands Amazon’s ecosystem further.

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