Remember when Amazon held a “surprise” event last September and introduced a bunch of new Echo devices? Well, it’s doing it again this year in what looks to become an annual hardware event. The announcements will kick off today at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET, and while the company says it won’t be streaming the event.
This time last year, Amazon introduced a bunch of new Echo form factors: a smaller Echo speaker with fabric shells, the tiny Echo Spot alarm clock with a touch screen, an Echo Plus smart home hub that looks just like the original Echo, an Echo Connect for pairing to your landline phones, and the Echo Buttons that turn Alexa speakers into an interactive game host.
So what’s coming up this year? Last night, Pocket-lint found some leaked images of an Echo Sub and a smart plug that adds Alexa to any appliance you own.
Additionally, CNBC this week reported that Amazon could be shifting focus toward Alexa in general, with plans to unveil up to eight smart home devices this year. Rumored products range from a voice-controlled in-car accessory to a smart microwave oven. The latter is particularly interesting given Amazon recently began offering Blue Apron-style meal kits, both online and at its Amazon Go cashier-less outposts. The smart oven, if confirmed, could potentially be tied to Whole Foods as well.
Interestingly, Amazon this week also announced an Alexa Gadgets Toolkit to let developers create devices that can interact with an Echo. Early partners include toymakers like Hasbro and WowWee, so we might see a few samples of those at the hardware event today.
Whatever Amazon decides to offer this holiday season, we’ll be here to bring you all the news later today, so check back soon for the latest.