If you’re considering investing in smart home tech, now is one of the best times to see what one of the biggest names in consumer tech has planned for the near future (and not so close) to web-connected equipment. The big brand in question is Amazon, and the company’s fall hardware event is upon us soon, though the exact date is yet to be determined.
Last year’s showcase took place on September 28 and featured a range of new products including the Amazon Smart Thermostat, the Echo Show 15 and Amazon Astro, a bite-sized robotic companion powered by Alexa.
And while the rumor has been pretty quiet, we can still speculate what we’ll see at Amazon’s 2022 event. Read on to learn more about what we think the company has in store this year.
A new generation of Echo speakers
With the December 2021 release of Echo Show 15, as well as second-gen iterations of the and (also releasing in 2021), we’re unlikely to hear about any new smart displays during Amazon’s fall showcase. That said, it’s been a minute since the Echo speaker range got any love, with the and been on the shelves for two years now.
Could we have an announcement for a fifth generation of Echo speakers? Maybe. Perhaps the bigger question is what Amazon could possibly add or improve in the fifth wave of first-party hardware.
The 2020 models saw a radical overhaul from the puck-shaped designs of the OG Echo speakers to an all-new spherical version of the smart device, for both the standard Echo and Echo Dot versions. While Amazon is unlikely to go for another aesthetic overhaul, it’s possible the developers are focusing on the innards of the Echo lineup. Think more about improving sound quality, perhaps improving tools like computer audio to dial in the best Echo sound based on the listening environment, as well as hardware tweaks to drivers and hardware. amplification.
It would also be a good idea for Amazon to start figuring out how to integrate Dolby Atmos capabilities into its family of speakers, or introduce some sort of proprietary Amazon codec for 3D sound staging (a little higher). When you consider the fact that Amazon runs its own HD music platform and more competitors are finding ways to add Atmos to web-connected speakers and soundbars, it makes sense that the titan of technology jumps on the Dolby wagon, pronto.
Speaking of soundbars, wouldn’t it be great if Amazon surprised us with its own Echo bar? Similar to Sonos, users can connect the bar to their TV using digital optical or HDMI ARC (for Dolby Atmos decoding), delivering home theater-style sound without the need for speakers additional. And with Alexa on board, music streaming services are a snap, along with the ability to control your smart home ecosystem.
While we’re unlikely to get another wave of Fire TV streaming devices, it would also be nice if Amazon built a streamer into a soundbar, similar to the tried and tested one from Roku.system.
The wonderful world of Ring
It’s been a while since we last heard of Ring Always Home Cam, or any new Ring product or service for that matter. While it’s possible Amazon will reveal more information about the polarizing security drone this fall, there’s just as much chance we’ll skim through the entire storefront without mentioning the airborne device.
Compatible with a number of Ring security systems, the Always Home Cam automatically takes flight when a Ring motion or contact sensor is triggered (Ring Alarm subscription required) or whenever a theft is manually initiated via the Ring app. Users will not be able to physically fly the Home Cam in mid-flight, but they will be have the ability to create up to 50 pre-programmed flight paths for the drone to navigate.
Equipped with an HD lens, the Always Home Cam will be able to show live views as it travels around your home, and when docked, the lens is obscured by the charging base, preventing hackers from seeing in your house.
As for Ring’s announcements, while we don’t hear any more information on a possible release date for the Always Home Cam, it’s is possible that Amazon will pull the curtain a little more on Ring’s next Virtual Security Guard service.
In partnership with Quick response, Virtual Security Guard subscribers will have access to professional third-party monitoring for any number of Ring outdoor cameras, for residential and commercial properties. Officers will only keep tabs on movement-related events, and if that happens, representatives will be able to deter would-be thieves with a two-way conversation and can dispatch emergency services if needed.
To use the platform, subscribers will need one or more Ring outdoor security cameras, a Ring Protect Pro plan, and a Ring alarm with professional monitoring.
A new smart thermostat (or two)
Due to the lack of built-in speakers and microphones, if you want to use voice commands to adjust your home’s HVAC system, you’ll need a smart speaker, display, or the Alexa app to send commands to the thermostat. . Alexa (and other voice assistants) continue to be integrated into new thermostats like theso it would be nice if Amazon introduced microphones and speakers, while diversifying its own range.
Ideally, we would like to imagine the following result:
Amazon will announce an all-new smart thermostat for 2022, one with far-field mics and a speakerphone for direct voice commands. Similar to the Google Nest universe, the new thermostat may also use more advanced processes to automatically dial in the ideal temperature for your property, alongside a host of other features; while the more basic model (without speakers or microphones) will still be available at a lower price.
Will Astro finally see the light of day?
Announced at Amazon’s Fall 2021 event, Amazon Astro is a $1,500 Alexa-powered robotic companion ($1,000 with a six-month trial of Ring Protect Pro) that can be navigated around our homes using the Astro app, voice commands, and smartphones. compatible Ring products and services.
Featuring object avoidance technology, an interactive touchscreen for video calling, content streaming, and web searches, and a built-in cargo space for bragging items around your home, we haven’t heard anything new about the standalone bot since the official 2021 reveal, so it’s possible Amazon will drop a hint or two (or an official release date) around when we can expect the little guy .