Amazon launches new Kindle, Halo Rise and smart home devices

Amazon.com Inc. expanded its portfolio of consumer devices today by introducing a new Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Scribe, and sleep tracking with machine learning capabilities.

The company has also refreshed its line of Echo smart speakers. Amazon is rolling out three new Echo devices, two of which include an improved eight-core processor touted as 20% faster than the previous generation silicon.

Scribe Kindle

The latest addition to Amazon’s popular Kindle line of e-readers is the Kindle Scribe, a 10.2-inch device that will go on sale for $340. The Kindle Scribe screen offers a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, a first for an Amazon e-reader. The company claims that the device can support half an hour of playback per day for 12 weeks on a single charge.

Customers can optionally order the Kindle Scribe with one of two styluses called Basic Pen and Premium Pen. Both devices work without needing to be recharged and can be magnetically attached to the eReader 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 old device is an entry-level product available at a lower price than several other smart speakers from Amazon. 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 offers 20% more performance over the six-core chip that powered previous iterations of the devices. The devices also support Wi-Fi 6E, a new version of the Wi-Fi standard designed to reduce network interference in locations with a large number of wireless devices.

The Echo Dot will retail for $50, while the Echo Dot with clock should be available for $60.

Halo Rise

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 Halo Rise.

The Halo Rise uses sensors powered by machine learning software to estimate the quality of the user’s sleep. According to Amazon, the device delivers its findings in the form of a report that also includes environmental data such as ambient temperature, humidity, and light levels. Using environmental data collected by Halo Rise, a companion app called Amazon Halo provides sleep improvement recommendations.

Software updates

Amazon is shipping the 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 allow Alexa to notify users if they are away from home and may have left a door unlocked. After receiving such notification, users can ask Alexa to lock the door. Another new feature, Alexa Edge Extensions, will allow Amazon’s latest Echo devices to change settings on previous-generation Echo hardware in response to user commands.

Amazon has also launched 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 an issue on the road.

The feature can be accessed through the Alexa app as well as several Echo devices, including the Echo Auto, which is specifically designed for use in vehicles. Along with the Alexa updates, Amazon today launched an updated version of the Echo Auto with a simplified chassis design.

New smart home devices

Amazon has also refreshed several other product portfolios. The company has launched two new Fire TV displays that can automatically adjust their screen settings based on light levels in the room. Amazon also showed off an upgraded Fire TV Cube streaming device, along with several new home security products that will be available as part of its Ring product line.

Amazon’s eero series of networking devices, in turn, will be expanded with two new devices. The first is a Wi-Fi router known as the eero PoE 6 which can provide wireless coverage covering up to 2,000 square feet and support up to 100 devices. It’s joined by the eero PoE Gateway 6, a device designed to support wired network connections that promises to facilitate connection speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

Photo: Amazon

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