Amazon announced a set of new products at an event held on September 25 in Seattle. Launches consisted of branded device updates (Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Fire TV Recast) and new branded devices (Echo Input, Echo Auto, Amazon Smart Plug, Wall Clock, Echo Sub, Echo Link, and Echo Link Amp). A common theme found in certain devices was an emphasis on Alexa integrability beyond smart devices – the Echo Input, Echo Auto, and Amazon Smart Plug all enable Alexa capabilities on third-party devices (speakers, cars, and household appliances).
The Echo Input ($35) provides Alexa capabilities to any speaker, essentially turning the new device into a smart speaker. The Echo Auto ($50) does the same for cars as long as the driver has a phone to enable a Bluetooth connection. These products give consumers the flexibility to choose third-party devices without having to sacrifice Alexa's assistance. The Amazon Smart Plug ($25) enables consumers to use voice commands to turn any electronic device on/off (via Alexa). This gives consumers the ability to make non-smart household products Alexa compatible (e.g. lamp, FM radio, small kitchen appliances).
The Fire TV Recast ($230) combines free over-the-air TV, DVR, and Prime Video with Alexa through integration with an Echo Show or Amazon Fire TV device. The device has no subscription fees, in part due to the antenna and storage freeing Amazon from any cloud-based storage responsibilities. By introducing the Fire TV Recast, Amazon provides a clear complementary device to round out the Fire TV products – in addition to online streaming, Fire TV Recast users will be able to access and record local channels.
There were many other product announcements that are not covered here because we believe they will have less impact on the market (e.g. Echo Wall Clock, Amazon Basics Microwave). Regardless, along with the Amazon Smart Plug, the devices are representative of Amazon's larger push in the smart home space. Despite a couple of misses, Amazon's recently announced extended range of products positions the company well for growth in Alexa use and Echo purchases.
Smart Home Case Study: Amazon consolidates its position in the smart home market, CES006-000021 (May 2018)
Rishi Kaul, Research Analyst, Consumer Technology