Amazon’s Echo and Ring devices launch event: Our live coverage starts now – CNET

Ringing in the holidays

8 a.m. PT

Today’s event will also likely include news from Ring, Amazon’s smart home security line. Amazon bought Ring three years ago, and more substantive integrations with Alexa and other Amazon devices and services might finally be coming down the pike.

There’s also some the Always Home Cam — the flying drone camera Amazon teased but didn’t release last year. Rumors suggest we could get an update on that today.

It’s important to remember that Ring has been contending with all sorts of privacy controversies over the past year, especially with regard to relationships with police. Amazon’s addressed some of them with increased privacy and security options, but more still needs to be done.

Making Alexa matter

7:46 a.m. PT

We already know some of the changes coming to Alexa, thanks to announcements made at the Alexa Live developers’ conference in July. Among the changes were the Amazon Custom Assistant Program that allows third parties to create their own assistants using Alexa’s blueprint. Verizon already jumped at the chance, announcing the Verizon Smart Display and the option to say, “Hi, Verizon.” (A lost opportunity for anyone hoping for “Verizon, can you hear me now?”) 

What new Alexa features will be announced this Tuesday is tough to call, but there are almost certainly some new things up Alexa’s virtual sleeve. 

The company also discussed Matter. Formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), Matter will be a single, IP-based, open-source standard that works over Wi-Fi and supports all major control platforms. It… ahem… matters because it’s supposed to act as a universal language that smart home devices from makers like Google, Apple and Amazon could use to connect with and understand each other. 

At Alexa Live, Amazon announced plans to integrate Matter into nearly all Echo devices (excluding first-gen speakers) via an over-the-air update. Amazon had slated the software development kit for release late this year, but it has since been pushed to 2022

Day 1 launches

7:30 a.m. PT

Amazon often announces a handful of “Day 1” products — experimental devices to measure market interest. They’ve ranged from microwaves and clocks to wearable rings and glasses — and they don’t always survive long. It’s tough to guess what Amazon will try out next, but our guess is as good as yours. How about an Alexa-enabled garbage can?

Speaking of Alexa, the assistant is also likely to see some updates. Last year the Echo Show got Netflix and support for group calling. A focus on features that support remote work, like teleconferencing and productivity management, would be timely and on brand.

Good morning

7 a.m. PT

And it begins. Amazon’s 2021 fall Echo event is happening today, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. PT. Amazon won’t be livestreaming its invite-only presentation to the general public, but the company has promised attendees “news about our latest Amazon devices, features and services”, according to invitations that went out Sept. 20.

We’re anticipating news across all of Amazon’s device and services categories. In years past, Amazon has unleashed literally dozens of new devices at its events, big and small. From the Echo Auto to the rotating Echo Show 10 to that odd Echo Wall Clock. Of course, new Echo Dots and Echo speakers are often the centerpiece.

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