Amazon’s already managed to put Alexa inside many rooms in many homes, giving folks access to the intelligent assistant whether they’re lounging on the couch, standing over the kitchen counter, or lying in bed. The Amazon Astro does all the same things, but comes equipped for mobility, allowing it to move around from one room to another.
That’s right, Amazon put Alexa inside a mobile robot, allowing it to perform all its smart functions while wheeling itself around everywhere in your home. Whether you want it to follow when you move around, send it to the bedroom to check on your kids, or serve as a roving patrol when you’re out of the house, this thing can do all that and more.
The Amazon Astro is, basically, an Alexa tablet that’s mounted on a wheeled platform, giving the intelligent assistant the ability to move itself around your home autonomously. You know… kind of like a Roomba, except it doesn’t do any actual cleaning. It’s equipped with a 10.1-inch touchscreen that can show animated eyes, display messages, and do all the other things display-equipped Echo Shows can do, from streaming videos and displaying photos to making video calls and showing visual information. Technically, it’s an Echo Show on wheels, with an onboard Bluetooth 2.1 speaker system, a 5MP camera on the tablet bezel, and an onboard mic array to go with the touchscreen display.
Unlike Amazon’s tablet speaker, of course, it comes with a wheeled base that allows it to serve as a security robot that can check all over your house using its onboard camera. Of course, the low height of that bezel camera means it won’t be able to see over most furniture. As such, they also equipped it with a periscope camera that uses a telescoping arm to raise itself to a height of up to 42 inches, allowing it to check on stovetops, beds, and whatever else you want to monitor in your home.
The Amazon Astro can be set up with a map of your home using the companion app, where you can assign areas of the house you want monitored and areas that are off-limits, with onboard sensors allowing it to recognize and avoid obstacles while it’s on the move. It can also recognize different people and their names (they have to make a Visual ID), so you can instruct it to go to a specific person in the room, while an open compartment in the back lets you load it with cargo (e.g. beverages, phones, remotes) for bringing to that person. And yes, it can recognize strangers in your home and alert you via the companion app.
Like robo-vacuums, it has a charging dock that it can return to any time it’s not busy patrolling your home or catering to the whims of the people in there. No word on how long it can last between charges, but that shouldn’t be an issue, considering it returns to the charging dock any time it’s not in use. Each Astro comes with six months of free trial of Ring Protect pro, so you get access to Ring’s cloud-based security services.
The Amazon Astro comes out end of the year.