Amazon has confirmed the date for its annual fall “Devices & Services” event, with the online-only launch taking place on September 24. It’s expected to see the debut of Amazon’s latest Alexa-powered hardware range ahead of the holidays, and which, if past events are anything to go by, will probably include both smart speaker mainstays of the line-up together with some more unusual options.
Last year, for example, Amazon covered all bases. On the one hand, there were updates to its Echo smart speaker, an Echo Dot with Clock that added a digital clock face to the popular model, and the Echo Studio, a more audiophile-focused version.
It also had unexpectedly affordable noise-canceling earbuds, the Amazon Echo Buds. The Echo Flex, meanwhile, was a smart speaker designed to plug straight into an outlet and hang there, complete with modular accessories that could snap onto the bottom. However, for every sensible new product, Amazon had something more unusual to show.
The Echo Glow, for example, was an Alexa-connected LED color-changing lamp. The Echo Loop, meanwhile, was an Alexa-powered wearable, while the Echo Frames allowed Amazon’s assistant to whisper to you through a pair of ostensibly normal glasses. The Amazon Smart Oven upgraded the Alexa-connected microwave with more cooking features.
For 2020, it’s not exactly clear where Amazon goes next. Upgrades to its mainstream line-up of speakers seem the obvious route, and it’s possible that we could see new add-ons for the Echo Flex. Despite all Amazon’s promises, new accessories for that have been in short supply.
A new version of the Echo Buds could be on the cards, too, given the popularity of active noise cancelation technology during increased working-from-home activity. That might also spur a new smart display, perhaps focused on more video calls. We’ve seen Google embrace that with Zoom support, and Facebook ink deals with a number of video calling providers for its Portal screens.
As for the more left-field options, for all Amazon has tried putting Alexa in unusual form-factors they’re still yet to really broach the mainstream. Rumors continue to circulate about augmented reality glasses as one option, though with most companies still talking about 2021 at the earliest for anything remotely production-ready, Amazon’s 2020 hardware event may be a bit too soon still to see what Jeff Bezos & Co. have up their collective sleeves. The event itself kicks off at 10AM PT/1PM ET on September 24.