Every fall for the past several years, Amazon has treated us to a media event where it lays out its lineup of new products and services revolving around Alexa and the connected home. These products are usually quickly made available, and then often discounted for fall sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and this year (presumably), Prime Day 2020. Last year we got updates to the Amazon Echo and Echo Show smart speakers, as well as new devices like the Echo Buds and future-forward Day 1 edition products like the Echo Frames.
We aren't yet sure of what devices Amazon will drop on us this year, though we have speculated on what they might be, and recent rumors over the past week have us more excited than ever! So without further adieu, here is a quick roundup on what we're likely to see at tomorrow's fall hardware event.
Amazon September 2020 Alexa event: Echo, Fire, and Alexa devices
Every fall event, the showcase items have tended to be Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers, and I expect this year to be no different.
At a minimum, we should see updates to some of the company's more popular Echo speakers. As I write this, the Echo (3rd Gen), Echo Plus (2nd Gen), and the Echo Dot with Clock are all unavailable for purchase and have been for a few weeks. This is as clear a sign as any that those devices are likely being updated or replaced outright in the Echo smart speaker lineup. The regular Echo Dot and Echo Dot Kids Edition are also a bit long in the tooth, as is the largest of the Echo Show devices.
For the past few years, we've also seen new form factors in the Echo line, such as the premium-sounding Echo Studio, or the practical Echo Flex. I wouldn't rule out another surprise Echo if this tradition holds.
Even though the Fire TV Cube saw an update last year, and we have gotten refreshes of Fire TV Edition TVs from the likes of Insignia and Toshiba, I would wager that we'll get at least one new Fire TV device, perhaps in the form of a new updated Fire TV Stick.
Amazon September 2020 Alexa event: Ring, Eero, and the connected home
At last year's fall event, Amazon unloaded nearly a dozen new or updated Ring security cameras and devices, and it has trickled out updates to several of its video doorbells already this year. With the recent reinvigoration of its Amazon Sidewalk program (first announced at the 2019 fall event), we fully expect to see new Ring smart lights, security cameras, and perhaps a few other new or updated items on Thursday.
Speaking of Amazon Sidewalk, don't be surprised to see something or someone from Tile on hand, as that company was named as a partner in the innovative initiative. Also slated to work with the Sidewalk initiative are Amazon's own Eero Wi-Fi mesh routers. There have already been rumors circulating about updated Eero mesh routers with Wi-Fi 6 support, so expect those to be officially announced tomorrow as well.
Perhaps some of these new Ring and Eero devices might even have Alexa built-in, like the latest router system from Google's Nest Wifi? We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
Amazon September 2020 Alexa event: Wildcards and other random products
Okay, so those are the obvious, core Amazon products we expect to hear about tomorrow, but what about those little surprises that Amazon likes to throw in each event? What will this year's innovative (or creepy) device be?
Last year we were introduced to the Day 1 Edition concept in the form of Alexa-enabled wearables like the Echo Loop and Echo Frames — two devices that, one year later, are still only available to purchase via an obscure invitation process. A few weeks ago, Amazon announced the Halo band, a holistic health wearable that can do things like analyzing your body fat percentage and your tone of voice. I, for one, hope that Amazon continues to push the envelope with its Alexa devices, and am crossing my fingers that we see a second generation of the initial Day 1 products that are more widely available for purchase, or a true Alexa smartwatch, or even Echo Buds (Gen 2).
There were rumors earlier this week about Amazon getting further into the connected fitness game with a Peleton knock off, but as of this writing, it appears that the company has shot down that idea. Still, you can see how that kind of rumor would gain traction, given Amazon's track record with devices like the Echo Show and the Amazon Smart Oven, which built on ideas from smaller companies that it had investment interests in.
I'm cautiously hopeful and excited that even I will be surprised by something weird, wild, and whacky to come out of Amazon's fall 2020 hardware event, and you can rest assured that we'll be covering the heck out of it all day tomorrow here on AC. But enough about me: what do you want to see from tomorrow's event?
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