Hello and welcome to the Geeky Brummie Tech Round-Up!
Each week I’ll be deep diving into the world of technology. Bringing back some new pearls from Birmingham and beyond! If you want to send any local tech articles over, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A short one this week as there’s not too much going on in the world of tech but Amazon have some new products so let’s have a look!
Amazon devices to take(over) home.
Fresh of the back of Microsoft releasing their latest, Amazon have also unveiled their raft of new products at their latest showcase Tuesday (28th September). I’ve picked a few of the more interesting products out of the line up.
First up is amazon’s new robot dog-cum-home security companion. If Aibo and the mouse droid from Star Wars had a baby, this would be it. Debuting at $999 USD (no UK price as of yet)
Astro ties in with Amazon Alexa routines and can be programmed to fit in with your daily needs. Astro also supports features like do not disturb, out-of-bounds zones, and more.
Designed to be remote-controlled when not at home, to check on pets, people, or home security, it can also be set to patrol automatically. It also has buttons to turn off cameras and microphones – but can’t move around when they are switched off.
It’s also go a pop-up periscope style camera that extends from it’s head to it can check things a bit further up.
The technology and retail giant suggested that it could be a help with home security, the elderly or those with mobility issues with a demo showing it can detect if a gas hob has been left on after leaving the house.
Many (including it’s own developers) have already criticised the lack of privacy, build quality and tendency for Astro to commit suicide down flights of stairs.
Astro is designed to integrate with Amazon’s Ring products, which have been criticised on multiple occasions for privacy concerns over Ring providing video to the police.
To activate certain features, ‘face and voice enrolment’ required. If an ‘unknown’ person is identified, the robot goes into sentry mode following the person around the house until this has been deactivated it will also record video and audio whilst doing so.
Obviously whomever at Amazon designed this forgot to watch Love Death And Robots ‘Automated Customer Service‘.
Personally it give’s me the damn creeps and I’ll be pulling out the flamethrower if it gets too close to my house.
(Amazon) Ring Always Home Cam
If the dystopian nightmare of Amazon being able to explore your house via a cutesy robot isn’t enough, how about your own security drone to roam the halls when you’re not there. Imagine you’re in the cosy comforts of City 17 as the scanners fly overhead.
Currently only on invite only access the $249.99 USD (no GBP prices as of yet), think of it as a Ring cam strapped to a drone. It launches from it’s deployment bay’ and can autonomously follow a pre programmed flight path. Alternatively you can set it to investigate if your ring home alarm system is triggered. If you want to see it in action there’s a video below.
I’ll await someone to tape a taser to the top of it and make a TikTok…
Amazon Echo Show 15
The ‘biggest Echo Show’ to date is the new Amazon Echo Show 15, a 15.6″ display designed to go in portrait or landscape mode. It will work with video and streaming services such as Prime Video, Netflix, Audible and Spotify, and have a customisable home screen with weather and sticky notes et al.
It’ll also have a 5MP camera for all those ‘video calls’ you’ll be doing through it or monitoring and you can dial into other echo / ring cameras and devices around the house too. Oh so convenient.
Prices is $249.99 USD / £239.99
The last of the nightmare fuel given to us is the Amazon Glow. Ostensibly a videoconference device with in built projector that can project games, books, or puzzles onto a table that kids and their parents (or grandparents) can play together. It has an 8″ inch screen for video chat, with a second projected 19-inch screen down on an (easy clean) flat white mat that comes with the device
On the other end of each call, the parent or grandparent will need to install a custom Amazon Glow app on their iPads / Android tablet, with Amazon’s own Fire tablets coming soon. It can also work with phones, but it’s not ideal on those due to screen real estate. The video chat app has a shared display showing the relevant activity with will need to be accessed by the Amazon Kids Plus subscription ($2.99 per month, one year free with the device”).
It’s priced at $299 (Or $249 invite only) and your pride.
How long before someone builds a Ouija board into it, hmm?
That’s enough of me for today. Excuse me I’m off to drink my verification can, before I can put on my special edition ‘They Live’ sunglasses.
Now about those pesky tax bills Amazon….
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