A robot, a soundbar and a giant Echo Show: Amazon’s Alexa plans revealed

It seems that Amazon isn’t content with its existing array of Alexa enabled speakers and screens. According to a new report in Bloomberg, the company has a whole host of possible devices in the pipeline. 

Though, perhaps mercifully, a team that was supposedly working on an Alexa-enabled karaoke microphone has been quietly disbanded. Well, probably not that quietly — maybe people in neighbouring offices were complaining about the noise as they listened to someone warbling Whitney Houston hits for the hundredth time. 

Also likely to be MIA is a home robot, codenamed Vesta. This isn’t exactly new, and was first mentioned back in 2018 when the idea sounded welcome, albeit a bit far fetched. After all, Alexa can currently answer questions, but it’s a disembodied voice incapable of actually undertaking chores. In short, nobody wants a chatty ghost as their butler (except, maybe, Netflix for a miniseries). 

Sadly, it doesn’t sound like Vesta is especially close to our Jetsons style robo butler dreams, with even founder Jeff Bezos apparently expressing doubts. In its current form, it seems to be an Echo Show on wheels which follows the owner around reminding them of appointments. That kind of nagging will be expensive, and probably not that appealing — especially as like robot vacuums, Daleks and cows, it can’t use stairs. 

Other projects are more likely to see the light of day, with some of them potentially being unveiled this week at Amazon’s upcoming hardware event. 

There’s a soundbar codenamed Harmony which will not only enable Alexa in your TV, but pack a front-facing camera, turning your TV into a giant video call screen, like your living room is the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

Then there are your standard Echo devices. As well as new Echo speakers for 2022 — something which should surprise precisely nobody — Amazon is also apparently working on a giant Echo Show. Codenamed Hoya, the 15in screen can reportedly be either wall mounted or placed on a stand, and is something Amazon apparently sees as the centre of people’s smart homes. 

Then there’s a new version of Echo Auto with the codename of Marion. Building on the original dream of putting Alexa in your car, it will apparently feature a new design with support for wireless device charging. 

Finally, beyond Alexa, Amazon is apparently said to be working on a few wearables for both children and OAPs. The latter of these will reportedly include fall detection. 

It will be interesting to see how many of these concepts make an appearance at Amazon’s September 28 event. Sadly it’s not a public livestream like Apple and Samsung’s recent reveals, but you’ll be able to read about what arrives right here on The Bit as soon as we know. Given it’s taking place at 4am Auckland time, you’re probably off just reading our digest anyway…

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