Amazon announces a new sphere-shaped Echo, Luna game streaming service, and a Ring drone that flies around your house

If you ever thought about having a security drone that can fly around inside your house, Amazon is here to give you what you want.

Today, Amazon hosted a hardware event to reveal a whole bunch of new products. As is par for the course, the company unveiled quite a bit, including products under the Echo brand, the Ring banner, and a brand new cloud gaming service. So let’s just dig right into the good stuff.

The Echo family expands

The Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Dot Kids Edition

Amazon’s lineup of Echo smart speakers has only grown in popularity since they launched. So how do you get people to upgrade a product that’s already working well enough? You upgrade the hardware, some features, and, most importantly, you give it a major redesign. That’s where the sphere-shaped Echo smart speaker (pictured above) and Echo Dot smart speaker comes in.

The new Echo smart speaker also features improved sound, thanks to Dolby processing and a three-inch woofer. It also has dual-firing tweeters for good measure. It’s equipped with a fabric finish that comes in three colors: charcoal, twilight blue, and glacier white. The Echo also brings this to the table:

For the first time, Echo comes with a built-in smart home hub, with support for Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon Sidewalk can help you set up new devices quickly, extend the working range of devices like Ring Smart Lighting that may be beyond the range of your home wifi, and offer new support for devices like Tile to locate misplaced items. The new Echo is powered by Amazon’s first-generation AZ1 Neural Edge processor—an all-new silicon module that’s purpose-built for accelerating machine learning applications. With AZ1, powerful inference engines can run quickly on the edge—starting with an all-neural speech recognition model that will process requests faster, making Alexa even more responsive.

Meanwhile, the Echo Dot shares the same design and fabric top, while offering a 1.6-inch front-firing speaker. Amazon also updated the Echo Dot with clock as well, upgrading the LED display, and giving it the same upgrades the regular Echo Dot received.

The Echo Dot also comes in a kid-friendly version, which boasts some unique designs like a panda and tiger. It offers the same spherical design as the regular Echo Dot, as well as all the same hardware improvements. The kid-friendly Echo Dot will also automatically recognize a child’s voice and switch to the kid’s profile for an appropriate experience.

The Echo costs $100, and the Echo Dot costs $50. Each new smart speaker is available to pre-order now.

The Echo Show 10

The newest Echo with a built-in screen and web camera features an HD 10-inch display, and it’s appropriately called the Echo Show 10. There is a 13-megapixel camera on the front to handle video calls, it supports Netflix, and it has the same AZ1 neural processor as the Echo. It retails for $250, but it’s not available to order just yet.

The primary new feature, along with the upgraded screen, is the fact the Echo Show 10 can rotate to follow you as you move around the room.

As Echo Show 10 moves, so does its dual, front-firing tweeters and powerful woofer, providing premium, directional sound that automatically adapts to your space, making it great for music, videos, and more. Echo Show 10 will also rotate as you watch the news, flash briefings, or TV shows from Hulu + Live TV and Prime Video. And, coming soon, you will also be able to watch Netflix simply by asking Alexa, with the ability to search, browse, and stream the entire catalog, including Netflix Originals such as Stranger Things, The Crown, and The Irishman, using just your voice.

Ring focuses on security

Amazon has transitioned into a company taking on security companies like ADT for home protection. And now it extends into the car, too. Amazon announced a whole slate of new products under the Ring banner today, basically worth its own press event all on their own. But here we go.

Ring for the car

It starts with the Ring Car Alarm, which plugs directly into the vehicle’s OBD-II port. It includes automatic built-in sirens and a plethora of sensors to monitor for theft. The package also includes the Ring Car Cam, a small camera that will automatically turn on when it detects the driver has been pulled over.

The Ring Car Cam also features emergency crash assistant functionality.

The Ring Car Alarm is priced at $60, while the Ring Car Cam will cost you $200.

How about a drone?

Here we are, the most wild new addition to the Ring lineup under Amazon’s watch. This is the “Always Home” camera, and it’s more than just a camera you stick on a shelf or in a corner to watch over a room. This is a full-fledged drone that can fly around your home, and give you a live video feed as it moves. It flies on pre-set paths, and it will move towards detected sounds, like a breaking window.

You can watch it in action in the video below.

The Ring Always Home camera will retail for $250.

Luna cloud gaming

Amazon’s purchase of Twitch all those years ago has probably led to this: Luna. It’s a cloud-based game streaming service, and it will aim to take on services like Google’s Stadia. It will work across platforms, so on PCs, Fire TV devices, Macs, and tablets. Interestingly, Amazon says this is designed as a web app, and so this will work on Apple devices, too. Amazon does not believe this will go against Apple’s App Store rules.

The controller is similar to what Microsoft offers with the Xbox, and it’s hard to ignore the similarities. Still, the $50 controller has “cloud direct technology”, which Amazon says will cut down on latency.

Finally, Amazon says Luna will cost $5.99 per month.

The end

Amazon had a busy day, and, as usual, blazed through the majority of the announcements. Still, if you’re a fan of the company and its products, there’s probably a lot to like here today.