Amazon revealed on Thursday its newest products, including an all-new Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. In addition, the online retailer revealed its Ring Always Home Cam, a home sentry drone that flies around. Amazon also revealed its new gaming streaming service, Luna. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins The Final Round to break down Amazon's latest tech.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, well, earlier today, Amazon announcing a whole bunch of new Echo devices. Dan Howley joins us now to tell us what we need to know about all of this. Howley, and I guess my first question would just be, so I guess Jeff Bezos's statement a couple of years back that he's most excited about Alexa and Echo would still be true, given everything that we saw today from them.
DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, today was really kind of a big refresh of a lot of Amazon's products that it has now. There's going to be a new Echo. Instead of that cylinder design, we're going to get these kind of spherical designs for the original Echo and then the Echo Dot, as well as the Echo Dot, with a clock, that's going to also have a spherical design, enhanced Alexa capabilities.
Alexa's going to sound more human-like. So when you have a conversation with it, it's not going to sound like kind of a stuttering robot. But it will have kind of a conversational flow to its voice. They also announced in partnership with Ring some wild products. One of them is the Ring Always Home Cam.
This is literally an in-home drone that flies around your house. And if you use it in conjunction with a ring alarm, if that alarm trips, this drone will take off from its landing spot, fly to wherever the disturbance was, and then stream video to your phone wherever you are so you can see what's going on in your home.
It's completely bonkers. You can also set predetermined paths for it so they can check out different parts of your house. And then it'll fly back to its docking station. And it's $229. Now, importantly, part of the design is that the blades are going to be encased so they're not going to be exposed. And they won't clip walls or potentially your cat or dog, whatever, or your kids, I guess. Those are important too.
And then also what they announced is Amazon's new cloud gaming platform called Luna. Now, this is available through early access. You need an invitation. It's $5.99 a month. And it's Amazon's biggest leap yet into gaming. It's $160 billion business. They want a slice of it. They already have their Twitch games streaming platform. You can watch people stream their games. A lot of personalities have jumped on to that.
But this will allow you to play games on any platform of your choosing, whether that's your Android phone or tablet, importantly iOS devices. Though, that will be through web-based apps rather than apps themselves that you would download through the app store on your Fire TV or your Chrome devices.
And this is really going to rival something that Microsoft offers called xCloud, part of its Xbox game pass, as well as Google's Stadia. These are the three players that are really the biggest in the cloud. And now they're all offering their own game, a cloud gaming platform. It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
But look, Microsoft is the leader right now. And we spoke earlier today to Microsoft VP of Gaming, Phil Spencer. And they are, you know, really just going straight towards cloud gaming. They believe that they have the best technology. And right now, it seems as though they do.
- Howley, you were on this program 24 hours ago talking about how compelling, getting a cheaper Apple watch would be. But ultimately you bought the Series 6. No question about it. Just calling you out here. But I want to ask about this interconnectedness of Amazon's product mix. So I'm particularly interested in the Ring Camera for the car.
As I understand it, one of them will debut specifically for the Tesla. But we're looking at a Ring Car Alarm, a Ring Car Cam, and a Car Connect. How do you anticipate all of these flowing together, you know, from the home to the car to working out with the new fitness band? Do you think it will be a seamless process? Will it become Apple-esq in that way? Or do you feel like there's still a long ways to go here?
DAN HOWLEY: I think that's the ultimate goal. You know, Amazon's devices are great. They do have incredible voice capabilities. I think, you know, you can still kind of rank it where it's Amazon's voice capabilities and recognition are up here. Google's is here. Siri is around here.
But as far as information gathering and capabilities, you know, capabilities, it's Amazon. Information, it's Google. But the capabilities aren't nearly as good as Amazon. And then Siri's kind of around down here with all that.
But, you know, I do think that what Amazon needs to do is just kind of polish the software, right? You know, the most interesting part about what Apple has to offer is the software looks and feels like you're in the future for the most part, right? You use that software, and you recognize, ooh, this is well done. It's intuitive.
I don't see that as much with Amazon. But what they're trying to do is as you said, make this a cohesive ecosystem where you wake up in the morning, talk to Alexa on your nightstand, get to your car, talk to Alexa, get to the gym, talk to Alexa. It basically allows you to be one with Amazon almost. But I do think over the long term, they will iron out the software kinks. And it will be kind of a platform that will rival something like Apple.
MYLES UDLAND: So I guess they're not worried about the fact that to me, having an Echo is kind of a take it or leave it-- I've got one. I've never won another one again. They're like, that's-- you're an idiot. That's a one off. This is the thing that's real.
DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think, really, they want this to be the end all, be all, right? And, you know, a lot of companies are getting into cars now on the new Apple watches and then the Apple, the iPhones. They're having ultra-bandwidth connectors on them. So you'll go to unlock your car with your watch or your phone.
You already have Amazon in certain cars. You could tell Alexa to start certain cars from in your home. So this is just kind of a natural evolution with Ring being part of this. You know, they're obviously the security arm of Amazon. It's really kind of bringing everything to bear so that Amazon truly becomes a greater part of your life.
Look, I order something from Amazon at least every week. I watch Amazon Prime Video. You know, I mean, they really do kind of integrate themselves very easily into your home. And now they want that to be the same with your car and with yourself.
DAN ROBERTS: And Dan, just very quickly to piggyback off Myles' point about people who might have one and no reason to buy another. Anecdotally, what about the people who still have never bought one of these smart speakers and are still reluctant? I'm talking about myself here-- just don't see the case for them. Do you see Amazon gradually over the last few years gaining more of those people, convincing them to come over and try one, buy one?
DAN HOWLEY: I think people see it in, you know, other people's homes. Or, you know, they eventually just break down when they see a sale certain-- things along those lines. One of the interesting things is they're trying to add more privacy to it.
So the Echo Show, for example, they have a camera on it. And there is actually a physical slider that will block the camera. And you'll see a little red piece of tape there almost similar to-- it's better than but similar to when people put the sticky tape on their cameras on their web cams.
But, you know, I think it's important that they're doing that. It shows that they recognize people think, one of the issues with the Echoes is privacy. And there have been certain problems with this privacy before. People's transcripts going to the wrong people. People being able to speak through speakers before.
So I think Amazon recognizing that and working to improve that would go a long way in convincing more people to get on the service. But look, if I can tell my speaker to play Taylor Swift whenever I want, I'm going to do it.