Amazon’s new Echo products: Everything just announced

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The new Echo Show 15.

Image: ZDNet

Amazon just wrapped up its fall 2021 event where the company announced several new products and services. There are several new Ring products, a robot for your home called Amazon Astro, a new Halo band with health and fitness services, and, of course, several new Echo devices. 

The star of the Echo announcements is arguably the Echo Show 15. The large TV-like display does more than just provide a means to answer trivia questions, while a new partnership with Disney will add some fun features to Echo devices. Then there’s the new Echo Glow, a device that’s designed to keep kids entertained and engaged during video calls with loved ones. 

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The new widget layout is interesting. 

Image: Amazon

Echo Show 15

The new Echo Show 15 has a 15.6-inch display and can be mounted on the wall or put on a shelf. Its screen has multiple items available to view, called Alexa Widgets, that include information like a shared family calendar, sticky notes, shopping or to-do lists, and so on. It also includes shortcuts to your smart home devices, like your Ring cameras in a Picture in Picture view. 

The Echo Show 15 doubles as a small TV, allowing you to stream movies and videos from the various services it supports, including Sling TV. 

What’s more, the Echo Show 15 uses facial recognition to identify who is in front of the display. Based on who it sees, the screen will change what information is shown. The feature is called Visual ID, and is optional. All processing is done on-device, with nothing sent to Amazon. It’s powered by the AZ2 processor. 

It’ll be available later this year for $249.99. It doesn’t include a stand for the countertop or a mount for going underneath a shelf.

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The new Amazon Glow has a unique approach to keeping a kid’s attention during video calls. 

Image: Amazon

Amazon Glow

Amazon has a new device designed specifically to keep a young child’s attention during a video call with a loved one, like a parent or grandparent. It does that by projecting an interactive interface on a flat surface, just below the built-in display. The touch-sensitive image can be used to read a book, play games, draw or scan and turn a kids’ toys into an interactive item. 

The loved one on the other end doesn’t need to have an Echo Glow of their own. Instead, they’ll be able to use the Glow app on a tablet to interact. 

Amazon Glow will launch through Amazon’s early access program for $249.99. You can request an invite starting today, with shipments starting in the “coming weeks.”

That price includes two years of Amazon’s worry-free guarantee. If it breaks, Amazon will replace it. 

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“Hey, Disney!” is a thing now. 

Image: Amazon

“Hey Disney!”

There’s a new stand for the Amazon Echo Show 5 that turns the small display into a Mickey Mouse-like smart display. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Amazon release a special stand for an Echo device, but the reason behind the launch is new — Amazon and Disney have partnered to create a “Hey, Disney!” wake phrase and experience. 

The phrase can be used alongside Alexa, but instead of triggering Amazon’s personal assistant, whenever you use the Disney wake phrase, you can interact with various Disney characters for jokes, facts, stories or trivia. 

Additionally, Disney is activating the experience on all of the Echo devices in Disney hotels so guests can hear from characters when they ask how early the park opens, or when the next tram will arrive at their hotel. 

“Hey, Disney!” is a paid Alexa Skill and will launch in early 2022. The Otterbox Den Series stand for the Echo Show 5 is available to pre-order right now for $24.99.

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Amazon Astro, the company’s first robot. 

Image: Amazon

Amazon Astro

Alright, this one doesn’t have Echo in its name, but it’s an Echo device at its core. Amazon Astro is an autonomous robot that looks more like a futuristic dog. In fact, it’ll even follow you around. There’s a large screen on the front of the robot that you’ll talk to and interact with, while the robot goes around your home, checking on loved ones and pets. 

There’s a built-in camera that will store video clips to your Ring account, which you can then view and monitor from your phone or tablet. You can also talk to Astro as you would any other Echo device to get weather updates, play games, watch shows or place video calls. 

Amazon Astro is part of the company’s Day 1 Editions program. That means you’ll need to request an invite, and if approved, you’ll have the chance to buy the robot for $999. That’s a discount, by the way. Amazon expects it’ll start selling Astro when it’s ready to launch for $1,499. 

Amazon is accepting invite requests starting today, and will begin approving them before the end of the year.

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