The flurry of Alexa-powered devices Amazon announced at IFA 2019 isn’t all the Echo-maker has in store this month. Amazon’s 2019 hardware event takes place in Seattle tonight, and the company is expected to announce a whole host of new products and services.
Despite revealing more than 20 devices earlier this month – including a Fire TV Cube, a host of televisions running the Fire TV UI and an Anker soundbar with Alexa and Fire TV – Amazon is about to reveal even more new things.
In this article, we’ll break down when and where the event is taking place and what we think Amazon could have in store for us.
When is the Amazon hardware event?
The event is scheduled to take place in Seattle at 10am Pacific Time – that’ll be 6pm here in the UK.
So, what are we expecting to see tonight?
New Echo speakers
What the company has in store is a mystery right now, but given that the deluge of products announced at IFA were focused on the Fire TV ecosystem, it’s a pretty safe bet Amazon is going to take this opportunity to focus on refreshing its Echo devices.
Black Friday is well in our sights so it makes sense Amazon would be replenishing the ranks ahead of the annual sales bonanza, where it usually offers deep discounts on products in an effort to get Alexa into more homes. So, perhaps we can expect a third-generation versions of the Amazon Echo and a fourth generation Amazon Echo Dot speaker.
We could also see new versions of the display-packing Amazon Echo Show and it’s possible the company could boost the Echo Plus to make it more of a rival to the Sonos One and Apple HomePod in terms of audio quality. This seems even more likely now that Amazon has announced its new lossless streaming service and is in dire need of some updated hardware to show it off.
Beyond boosting audio quality, there’s not a lot of obvious avenues for Amazon to make its Echo speakers better, but perhaps Amazon has an ace up its sleeve? We’re looking forward to finding out.
Back in April, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was working on an Alexa-powered wearable device to challenge Apple’s AirPods. Could we see Amazon’s first hearable?
We’re hoping to see Amazon’s first true-wireless earphones tonight with AI features matching those on its Echo speakers and audio quality to rival Apple’s AirPods.
Earlier this week, CNBC reported that Amazon’s earbuds will centre around fitness tracking and will be capable of tracking distance, calories and pace. The report also suggested that the earphones would be significantly cheaper than the AirPods, at less than $100 for the pair.
What we do know is Amazon is working to improve Alexa, and it is getting users involved. The company has opened-up its Alexa Answers scheme – a kind of Quora for the voice assistant – to all users. That means users are implored to help out with those questions that Alexa, in her current form, really struggles to answer.
Back in 2018, Bloomberg reported that Amazon’s Lab126 had plans to unleash domestic robots into the world. The report cited 2019 as the year the AI-powered robot would roll (or walk?) into our homes and, with no announcement to be seen thus far, its possible that Amazon have saved this one until later in the year to meet the Black Friday and Christmas rushes.
According to Bloomberg, early prototypes were equipped with advanced cameras and computer vision software and were able to navigate homes like a self-driving car. If Amazon were to combine these features with its Alexa tech, the home robot could have the potential to complete chores, keep watch of your house and respond to requests like a robotic butler.