Amazon took the wraps off a new batch of Alexa-powered products in a Wednesday event that seemed like a non-stop firehose of hardware. Among the products unveiled at the Seattle HQ: a high-end Echo Studio, the new Echo Show 8, an Echo Dot with a clock and a three-in-one Amazon Smart Oven. The online retail giant also debuted Echo Buds earphones and the connected Echo Frames eyewear, both part of its Day 1 Editions program for experimental products. The company also introduced a host of new functions and features that allow users to better control their privacy.

The new products and features fell broadly on two themes, mobility and privacy. The earbuds and glass frames, as well as products for autos and a connected ring (as in jewelry) point to Amazon’s desire to break its Alexa smart assistant out of our living rooms and into our broader lives. The vision appears to be making Alexa a service we take with us where ever we go. 

Similarly, Amazon appears to be hearing our concerns about privacy, an issue that jumped to the fore after news broke that the company written transcripts of our conversations with Alexa lived on even after we asked for them to be erased. The company added a voice command that lets you hear everything Alexa recorded and said it will let people delete Alexa voice recordings on a rolling 3-month or 8-month basis.  It also touted a new privacy tool for kids and a new feature for its Ring video doorbells called Home Mode that pauses audio and video recording when the owner is home. 

Amazon also dropped the price on its Eero line of mesh network components and introduced Sidewalk, which extends connectivity outside the house. 

All of the above might sound like a lot. But we were on the ground in Seattle and can tell you there was a lot more. Here are the highlights.  

Last year, the company announced a dozen new devices, from the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot to the AmazonBasics Microwave, the Amazon Echo Wall Clock and the Amazon Echo Auto. Since then, Amazon released a new smart display — the Amazon Echo Show 5. It’s also come under fire for hiring people to occasionally listen in on Alexa conversations. The company also acquired the video doorbell company Ring, which has faced scrutiny for its work with police departments across the country, and mesh-network maker Eero

Wearables and Day 1 Editions

Echo Buds are real, too, and include Bose noise reduction. They join the Echo Frames smart glasses as part of a new Day 1 Editions program for experimental Alexa implementations. The Echo Loop is a Day 1 Edition smart ring.


Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET

Echo and Alexa

They opened with new Alexa commands, the ability to mimic celebrities and privacy updates for Ring (home mode) and Alexa (such as automatic deletion of data). Plus, a bunch of new Echos, of course, highlighted by a high-end model that supports Dolby Atmos streaming from 4K Fire TVs and pairing. And kid-friendly features and models, such as the Echo Glow.

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Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET

Frustrated by smart-home setup? Now Amazon has a frustration-free Certified for Humans program to make smart lights, plugs and appliances totally foolproof. Also, it rolled out the first product from the Eero acquisition, the… Eero, as well as Alexa’s ability to manage Wi-Fi. The Echo Flex spreads access points inconspicuously throughout your home, with a plug-in motion sensor or night light. Ring gets plug-ins and a Stick-up Cam, including its first indoor-only camera at a new low price of $59.

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And how do you follow up  the Amazon Microwave? With the Amazon Smart Oven, bundled with an Echo Dot. Amazon also extends the reach of your control via Amazon Sidewalk.


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