The Most Interesting Things Amazon Announced Today
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The Most Interesting Things Amazon Announced Today

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There’s a new audio architecture to optimize what you can hear, minimize what everyone around you can, and minimize audio distortion in windy conditions. There are also new frame styles, with blue light lenses, sunglasses, and two styles designed with Carrera eyewear. The smart frames will start at $270 and customers can sign up to be notified when they’re on sale. —Adrienne So

Echo Pop Kids

A Disneyfied speaker.

Photograph: Amazon

The Echo Pop is already the colorful little sibling of the Echo devices, and now the Echo Pop Kids is for the actual little people in your household. Instead of the rounded animal design, the hemispherical speaker has been reimagined by Amazon’s partnership with Disney. You can pick either Marvel Avengers or Disney Princesses themes for the design. The kid-optimized voice assistant inside will be able to hold engaging science-based conversations with your children with a new feature called Explore with Alexa. Amazon’s science team drew content from the World Wildlife Fund and AZ Animals for age-appropriate, fact-filled information. It’s $10 cheaper than the Echo Dot Kids, retailing for $50, and currently available for preorder to ship in October, but comes with only six months of Amazon Kids+ content rather than the full year the Dot offers. And honestly, the Dot’s owl and dragon are way cuter. —Nena Farrell

A Wi-Fi 7 Eero Mesh Router

The newest, fastest Eero yet will cost $600 and support Wi-Fi 7.

Photograph: Amazon

We may still be a year away from the final Wi-Fi 7 certification and even further from having a house full of Wi-Fi 7 capable devices, but routers that support the new wireless networking spec are starting to roll out now. Amazon’s new Eero Max 7 is the latest Wi-Fi 7 mesh device to hit the market (expect it in time for the holidays). This tri-band mesh router can potentially download a 4K movie in 10 seconds, is backward compatible with existing Eeros and older Wi-Fi versions, and packs in four Ethernet ports (two 10 Gbps and two 2.5 Gbps). But future-proofing comes at a premium, and a single Eero Max 7 costs a whopping $600. You can read more about the Eero Max 7 right here. —Simon Hill

New Accessibility Features for Fire Tablets and Alexa

Use Alexa in emergency situations now to call for help.

Video: Apple

Amazon highlighted a handful of new accessibility features for Alexa. The Eye Gaze feature allows folks with mobility issues and speech disabilities to use Alexa with their eyes. By gazing at the screen, they can trigger preset actions for playing music, calling loved ones, or controlling smart home devices. Looks like it’s confined to the new Fire Max 11 for now, and will land later this year. Call Translation brings real-time captioning to Alexa audio and video calls, which could be handy for people who are hard of hearing. Finally, a new Alexa Emergency Assist service provides a 24/7 urgent response triggered by saying “Alexa, call for help.” Trained agents can share stuff like your home address, medications, or allergies with first responders, but the service costs $6 per month or $59 per year. —Simon Hill

New Blink and Ring Security Cameras

Keeping watch.

Photograph: Amazon

Amazon announced the Blink Outdoor 4 security camera last month, and it just unveiled a few additions. The Blink Sync Module Pro ($50) is designed to extend your Wi-Fi service, so you can get a strong signal from a distant camera, even if your backyard is huge. The Blink Outdoor 4 Floodlight Camera ($160) is a wireless camera that can light up your backyard, and the Battery Extension Pack ($30) provides extra power. Sticking with security, Amazon also announced the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro ($180) with 3D Motion Detection to give you more control over what triggers your camera alerts. Before you buy a home security camera, you should read about why we don’t recommend Ring. —Simon Hill

New Kids’ Fire Tablets

The new Fire 10 Kids tablets are lighter and easier to hold.

Photograph: Amazon

There are two new Fire HD 10 Kids tablets: the regular model for kids under 7, and a new Pro model for older kids. Amazon claims both are 25 percent faster than the previous kids’ tablets, as well as lighter, which makes them easier for kids to hold. The RAM has been bumped from 2 gigabytes to 3 gigabytes, but the screen remains at 1080p resolution. Both models are $190 and available for preorder now. Amazon says the new tablets will ship next month.

To go along with the updated Kids Fire tablets, Amazon is launching a pair of new apps. The first is Music Maker, a kid-friendly music editing app. Think GarageBand, but simpler. The other is what Amazon calls Play Together Games, which enable Fire Kids tablets to connect to and play games across devices. —Scott Gilbertson

A New Fire TV Curation System

Amazon is now using its AI smarts to help you determine what to watch. Using hundreds of millions of facts and data points from IMDB and knowledge of your watching history and habits, you can now ask Fire TV complex requests like “Show me that new show with the guy from Breaking Bad,” and immediately see Better Call Saul pop up. The search is completely personalized, which allows you to say things like “Hey, resume that sci-fi show I was watching,” or “Show me new action movies that are free to stream.”

Will this be better or more fun than serendipitously discovering new shows and movies based on word of mouth? We’ll see. But it could be an excellent way to know when new options are available that might interest you. Amazon has also added a new Artful Display feature to the Fire TV, which lets you ask Alexa to change any photo you’d like into a watercolor design for your TV screen. —Parker Hall

A Fire TV Soundbar

Boom boom.

Photograph: Amazon

We’ve been telling folks to just get a soundbar already for years, and now Amazon has launched a cheap new all-in-one bar that will pair well with its affordable TV lines. The small, rounded rectangle can be easily mounted below a TV, and comes with HDMI ARC so your TV remote will work to control the bar. Don’t expect this to be one of the best-sounding bars ever made, but at $120, the new bar will likely be a popular option for newer TV buyers who want better sound. —Parker Hall

New Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max

Amazon’s newest streaming sticks start at $50.

Photograph: Amazon

Amazon has updated both its TV streaming sticks, announcing a new Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The standard version is almost 30 percent faster than its predecessor, Amazon claims, and includes support for Wi-Fi 6, which should provide for a more seamless experience streaming 4K content. The 4K Max, on the other hand, has Wi-Fi 6E (which Amazon says is a first for the industry), for lower latency and faster speeds. It also comes with support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio, along with HDR and HDR10+ standards. The Fire TV Stick 4K costs $50 and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max costs $60. Both streaming sticks are currently available for preorder. —Brenda Stolyar

Echo Hub and Map View

Map your house in the name of smart home control with the new Map View feature, which allows you to create a map of your home and where each smart device is located within it. You’ll be able to choose which rooms the map features, and the idea is you can see your entire home and its devices (and which ones are in use) at a visual glance. It’ll be available on select smartphones later this year.

Map View will also be available on an all-new device next year: the Echo Hub. The Echo Hub is a wall-mounted control panel for your smart home devices that’s reminiscent of custom automation systems like Control4. It has an infrared sensor to show controls when someone is nearby, or switch to a screensaver (like your photos) when no one is. It can still answer questions like an Alexa can, so it feels like a wall-mounted Echo that’s almost entirely focused on controlling your smart home. It’ll retail for $179 and will be available later this year. —Nena Farrell

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