With the brand’s ever-increasing focus on Artificial Intelligence and smart home technology through their various Alexa devices, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Amazon revealed their first home robot. And now that time has come. At the brand’s big fall reveal event on September 28, Amazon revealed Astro, an Alexa-enabled home robot that provides a strong vision of what the future of connected smart homes may look like.
Unlike other home robots we’ve seen from smaller brands, the Amazon Astro looks like it has the potential to become an integral part of people’s lives. Not just because it’s from a hugely influential brand like Amazon, but also because it actually boasts a lot of useful features. Powering the device are four different processors: two Qualcomm QCS605 chips, one Qualcomm SDA660, and Amazon’s own AZ1 Neural Edge processor. Astro weighs around 20 lbs. and measures 16.7” L x 9.8” W x 17.3” H, with a 10.1” HD touchscreen display acting as its “face.” The robot is equipped with two cameras — a 5MP one with night-vision LEDs in the bezel and a 1080p periscope cam that can extend up to 42” from the floor. The main purpose of Astro is home security, as the robot can autonomously wander around your home when you’re not around and investigate potential intrusions, giving you a live feed of whatever it finds. It can even detect sounds like smoke alarms and breaking glass, and it knows to investigate such events. Of course, Astro isn’t just made for home security. The robot can follow you, play various forms of entertainment, and find you on its own to deliver video calls, messages, and reminders. It can also carry around items to deliver with its built-in detachable cup holder. And if you’re concerned about privacy, you can shut off Astro’s cameras, microphones, and motion at any time with the press of a button. You can also set up “out of bounds zones” so you won’t have to worry about the little robot barging in on you in the bathroom.
Amazon is rolling out additional paid subscriptions that give Astro even more capabilities, like the home security-focused Ring Protect Pro and Alexa Together, which enables people to remotely care for elderly loved ones. To start, Astro is only available by requesting an invitation to buy it from Amazon. If you’re approved as a buyer, then you’ll have to pony up $1,000 for the robot. Once Astro goes on sale to the general public, it will retail for $1,450.
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