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New Echos, Fire TVs and more expected


New Echos, Fire TVs and more expected

The robot elephant in the room

iRobot’s Roomba.

Source: iRobot

One question that’s likely to be on many people’s minds during the event: Will Amazon mention Roomba-maker iRobot?

Amazon made the surprising announcement in August that it plans to acquire iRobot for roughly $1.7 billion, delivering a shot in the arm to its hardware and robotics businesses. iRobot is best known for its robotic vacuum Roomba, and robot mops.

Amazon’s Astro home robot


Amazon launched its own consumer robot, Astro, at last year’s hardware event. Astro is equipped with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant and can follow users around the home. But it’s only available by invitation, and it will have a steep $1,450 price when released.

— Annie Palmer

Amazon’s hardware business isn’t a big moneymaker

A group of Amazon Echo smart speakers, including Echo Studio, Echo and Echo Dot models, taken on September 24, 2020.

Neil Godwin/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Unlike Apple, which makes money off of sales of its flagship iPhone and other products, Amazon’s hardware business doesn’t generate much profit, and it doesn’t account for a significant portion of the company’s revenue.

Instead, Amazon launches devices at extremely cheap prices with the goal of promoting its other products and services. It hopes that for every $99 Fire tablet it sells, for example, users will purchase movies, audiobook subscriptions and other items, which tend to have higher margins.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has previously admitted that the retail giant doesn’t expect to make a profit on its devices.

Even if it’s not a lucrative business, Amazon’s growing array of Echo smart speakers, Ring doorbells and Fire TV sticks help extend the company’s reach in the smart home. And they help serve its other, fast-growing businesses, like advertising.

— Annie Palmer

There may be surprises

You can usually expect new Echos, Fire TV software and the like at these events, but sometimes Amazon has a few surprises. One year it announced Echo Frames glasses, for example. Last year it launched a smart frame that hangs on the wall. And it’s also used its fall event to announce a security drone that flies around your house. But that hasn’t launched yet.

Also of note: Amazon just updated its Fire tablets, so we probably won’t see anything new there today.

— Todd Haselton

Amazon’s launching new gadgets just in time for Prime Day 2.0

Amazon’s hardware event is well timed. The company is planning to host another Prime Day-like discount bonanza next month, the first time it’s held two deal events in the same year.

Amazon typically discounts its own gadgets during these events. In years past, Amazon-branded devices like Echos, Fire TVs and Kindles also tend to be among the top sellers on Prime Day (which is typically held in the summer), and busy holiday shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

— Annie Palmer

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