Amazon has a bonkers lineup of new Alexa and Ring devices coming
posted Sunday Sep 27, 2020 by Scott Ertz
It's that time of year where tech companies are making their announcements for the next generation of their products - just in time for holiday shopping. While these announcements may look different this year from past events thanks to the lockdown, most of the products are what we expect - incremental updates to existing prodicts. Amazon decided to take a different approach from the likes of Apple and announced some legitimately new prodicts, or big new features to existing lines.
Sure, the Echo speakers are generally unchanged, save for the design. Instead of a Pringles can, they now look like a ball. But, that's mostly just aesthetics. Sure, Alexa is getting upgrades, but that's not a device feature, that is a network-level feature. The Eero line also got a modest upgrade, with a pair of new mesh routers sporting Wi-Fi 6. This is a welcome upgrade, but fairly pedestrian, as most other brands have already released Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers.
The real shock for Amazon comes in a pair of devices: the upgraded Echo Show 10 and the Ring Always Home Cam. The new Echo Show 10 adds an interesting feature - the ability for the camera to follow you. But, if you have seen an Echo Show, you know the camera is built in to the frame of the screen. So, to accomplish this new feature, the entire screen follows you. It's an interesting concept, but a problem for anyone who is worried about privacy, because it means the camera is always looking for people, can identify them, and then follow them around a room.
While that's odd, the Ring Always Home Cam is even odder, and stranger. It is a camera drone that sits in a mouht in your home and can fly around and follow intruders. No part of Amazon, a company that has had privacy violation issues in the past, having moving access to view inside of your home makes this an uncomplicated issue. While Amazon assures people that the flying spy camera makes enough noise that no one would be surprised by it, it's less about Amazon and more about hacking that has me worried. If someone can gain remote access to the devices, like they did with the Ring cameras a while back, hackers might be able to scout the inside of your home using your own spy drone. They could even land it in a different location and keep an eye of your activities. Not a great possible outcome for a product that is really just a novelty looking for attention.