Amazon.com Inc. expanded. its portfolio of consumer devices today by introducing a new Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Scribe, and a sleep tracker with machine learning capabilities.
The company also refreshed its Echo lineup of smart speakers. Amazon is rolling out three new Echo devices, two of which include an upgraded octa-core processor that is claimed to be 20% faster than the previous generation’s silicon.
The Kindle Scribe, a 10.2-inch device that will retail for $340, is the latest addition to Amazon’s popular line of Kindle e-readers. The Kindle Scribe’s display offers a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, a first for an Amazon e-reader. The company says the device can support half an hour of reading per day for 12 weeks on a single charge.
Customers can optionally order the Kindle Scribe with one of two styles called the Basic Pen and the Premium Pen. Both devices work without the need for charging and can be magnetically attached to the e-reader when not in active use. The Premium Pen offers several features not included in the Basic Pen, including an eraser button.
New Echo smart speakers
Along with the Kindle Scribe, Amazon introduced updated versions of its Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock devices. The former is an entry-level product available at a lower price than many of Amazon’s other smart speakers. The Echo Dot with Clock, in turn, is an upgraded version of the standard Echo Dot with a display that shows the time.
The new versions of the Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot feature an improved eight-core processor. According to Amazon, the processor provides 20% more performance than the six-core chip that powered the previous variants of the devices. The devices also have support for Wi-Fi 6E, a new version of the Wi-Fi standard designed to reduce network interference in areas with a large number of wireless devices.
The Echo Dot will retail for $50, while the Echo Dot with Clock is set to be available for $60.
The Echo series of products is one of many lines of connected devices offered by Amazon. Amazon also sells the Halo line of health and fitness devices, which the company is expanding today with the introduction of a new sleep tracker called the Halo Rise.
The Halo Rise uses sensors powered by machine learning software to assess the quality of the user’s sleep. According to Amazon, the device delivers its results in the form of a report that also includes environmental data such as room temperature, humidity and light levels. Using the environmental data collected by the Halo Rise, a companion app called Amazon Halo provides sleep improvement recommendations.
Amazon will launch Echo smart speakers and the new Halo Rise with its Alexa voice assistant, which is also getting an update.
A new feature called Smart Home Suggestions will enable Alexa to notify users if they are away and may have left a door unlocked. After receiving such a notification, users can ask Alexa to lock the door. Another new capability, Alexa Edge Extensions, will enable Amazon’s newest Echo devices to change previous-generation Echo hardware settings in response to user commands.
Amazon also debuted a feature called Amazon Roadside Assistance designed for drivers. With this feature, drivers can ask Alexa to contact a roadside assistance provider when they encounter a problem while on the road.
The feature is accessible through the Alexa app as well as some Echo devices including the Echo Auto, which is specifically designed for use in vehicles. In addition to the Alexa updates, Amazon debuted today an updated version of the Echo Auto with a streamlined chassis design.
New smart home devices
Amazon also refreshed several other product portfolios. The company debuted two new Fire TV displays that can automatically adjust their screen settings based on room brightness levels. Amazon also introduced an upgraded Fire TV Cube streaming device, as well as some new home security products that will be available as part of its Ring product range.
Amazon’s eero networking device series, in turn, will be expanded with two new devices. The first is a Wi-Fi router called the eero PoE 6 that can provide wireless coverage spanning up to 2,000 square feet and support up to 100 devices. It is connected to the eero PoE 6 Gateway, a device designed to support wired networking connections that promises to facilitate connection speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.