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Amazon surprised us at Thursday’s event with its new Luna cloud-gaming service as well as the expected updates to its line of Echo, Fire TV and Ring products. The event helps Amazon generate buzz as we roll into the holiday shopping season, and for the first time, Prime Day. (The annual sale is usually held in July, but this year is slated to start on Oct. 13.) That means Alexa everywhere and addressing privacy concerns, which were a big storyline in 2019 for both Ring and Alexa. In a life-at-home existence, with millions of us hunkered down for the long haul, the connected house concepts that Amazon has been developing for years have become more critical than ever.
The company’s Echo and Fire TV products will be its first to earn sustainability badges and it’s working on reducing power consumption across devices with a new low-power mode and an energy dashboard integrated with Alexa. It’s also pledging to build solar and wind farms to generate energy that matches the consumption of all its devices.
The company launched a cloud-gaming service on top of Amazon Web Services that runs on PCs, Fire TVs and even iOS. There’s a Luna Plus game channel with a curated set of games, and Amazon is partnering with publisher Ubisoft for Day 1 availability of some of them.
It has a custom $50 controller that connects directly to the cloud rather than the local device.
Read more: Amazon gets into game streaming with Luna
This is the custom controller that connects directly to the cloud, reportedly reducing roundtrip latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds vs. a local Bluetooth connection among PC, Mac and Fire TV.
Amazon/Screenshot by CNET
Redesigned with a new spherical shape and able to adapt to the acoustics of the room, the fourth-gen Echo incorporates features formerly in the Echo Plus. It’s also a bridge to Amazon’s Sidewalk network and includes neural network technology to accelerate Alexa.
Read more: Amazon announces a new spherical Echo smart speaker
It gets the same redesign as the spherical Echo, but now sports a stylish fabric cover and a better speaker.
Also spherical, with some kid-friendly features, the Kids Edition includes voice profiles for the children and Sidekick, which lets Alexa read to them.
It now has Zigbee and Sidewalk hubs, and is quiet when it pivots in your direction. For privacy, there’s a built-in camera shutter, and all Echo devices will have a command to review privacy settings and “delete everything I’ve ever said.” It will also support Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video.
Read more: Amazon announces the Echo Show 10
The Pro 6 is basically the same as the Eero 6, but designed to handle higher bandwidth — up to gigabit, as opposed to 500Mbps — connections.
Ring Car Connect: $200
One of three new car-centric Ring products
Captura de pantalla por Juan Garzon / CNET
Debuting with Tesla, Connect uses a vehicle’s built-in external cameras to capture video in the event that something happens to the car while driving or parked.
There is no product page on Amazon yet but we’ll add it here when it arrives.
Read more: ‘Alexa, I’m getting pulled over’: Ring debuts dashcam with Traffic Stop mode
It’s basically the same as the all-new Fire TV Stick, but lacks the integrated TV controls on the remote.