Amazon awakens sleep tracker, Astro security and a wave of new updates

29 Sep 2022

The Halo Rise sleep tracker. Image: Amazon

With Halo Rise sleep tracking, Astro pet detection and Alexa’s multi-camera view, Amazon is pushing to have a device for every part of the home.

Amazon has unveiled a range of new products and updates, including the Halo Rise sleep tracker, the Kindle Scribe and new features for the Astro robot.

The tech giant made the announcements at a virtual event yesterday (28 September), which largely featured updates to its existing product lines.

One of the new devices is the Halo Rise, which Amazon said is designed to improve the quality of sleep for users.

This bedside sleep tracker uses contactless sensors and machine learning to track respiration and movement patterns. The Halo Rise does this to know which sleep stage a person is in throughout the night.

The device also has environmental sensors to measure a room’s temperature, humidity and light levels throughout the night.

It integrates with the Halo app, which Amazon launched together with the Halo wearable in 2020. Amazon said the app provides science-backed recommendations on how to improve a sleep environment.

The Halo Rise gives a detailed sleep summary when its users wake, including a graph that shows the time spent in each sleep phase, a sleep score and information about their sleep environment.

The device can also be paired with Alexa so users can be woken up by their favourite song or automatically have lights dimmed.

“Halo Rise is designed to work intelligently in the background and give you an entirely new and effortless way to manage your sleep and achieve sleep-life harmony,” said Melissa Cha, VP of Amazon smart home and health.

The Halo Rise is due to ship later this year with a starting price of around $140. The sleep tracker also comes with six months of Halo membership.


An Amazon Astro robot in a house with a dog resting on a couch looking at it.

The Astro robot. Image: Amazon

Amazon also revealed some updates for Astro, its home security and assistance robot that launched last year.

Eager to make the robot a member of the family for households, the update helps Astro to detect cats and dogs in the home. The robot will be able to keep an eye on pets while on patrol, sending a video to the owners so they know what the animal is up to.

Amazon said this was a requested feature from customers, who want Astro to be able to interact with all members of the family.

The robot will also be able to learn things about doors and windows to better manage the household. For example, Astro will be able to tell if a certain door is in the wrong state – such as the front door being open – and alert users to this issue.

Amazon said this feature utilises advances in multimodal AI understanding and was developed in partnership with the Alexa AI team.


An Amazon Echo speaker resting on a table with a painting in the background.

The Amazon Echo, used to help interact with Alexa. Image: Amazon

Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is set to get new ways to control a user’s smart home. The tech giant said that more than 30pc of smart home interactions can be triggered by Alexa without users having to say anything.

The new features aim to let Alexa do even more in the background, such as turning off smart devices at a specific point in the future. For example, a user can ask Alexa to turn some devices off at 6pm, or to turn a fan off in 20 minutes.

Alexa is also getting support for remote switches, which – when combined with Alexa Routines – means a user can turn off all their lights at the push of a button.

New Routines actions means that users can toggle a light on and off, adjust the brightness of a light, or have it dimmed by a certain amount every time they push the button.

Amazon said Alexa is also getting a multi-camera function by the end of the year. With this, users will be able to view up to two compatible smart home cameras simultaneously on Echo Show 5, or show up to four on all other Echo Show devices.

Kindle Scribe

A person holding a Kindle Scribe in their hands, with writing on the device and a table behind it.

The Kindle Scribe. Image: Amazon

Amazon has revealed its next generation of Kindle that combines reading with writing. The Kindle Scribe features a 10.2 inch paperwhite display, along with a pen that never needs to be charged.

Amazon said the Kindle Scribe feels like reading and writing on paper, thanks to its front-lit, glare-free display. The device has a focus on note taking, with its larger size designed for larger fonts, images, charts and documents.

The new Kindle bares some comparisons to the ReMarkable 2 paper tablet, which also aims to capture the feeling of paper on a digital device.

“Kindle Scribe is the best Kindle we’ve ever built, creating a reading and writing experience that feels like real paper,” said Amazon devices VP Kevin Keith.

“It’s inspired by the Kindle customers who have added billions of notes and highlights to books over the years, and it’s also ideal for reviewing and marking up documents, managing your to-do list, or doodling over a big idea.”

The Kindle Scribe is currently available for preorder at a price of $339 and will ship later this year.

Fire TV

An Amazon Fire TV Cube in a white background.

The Fire TV Cube. Image: Amazon

Amazon’s Fire TV family is set to get a boost with the next-generation Fire TV Cube. The new streaming device comes with an octa-core 2.0 GHz processor that makes it 20pc more powerful than the previous generation, according to Amazon.

The new Fire TV Cube can be controlled hands-free with Alexa and includes support for 4K ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. The device also comes with new features such as a HDMI input port, Wi-Fi 6E support and super resolution upscaling.

Daniel Rausch, Amazon entertainment devices and services VP, said the new device is a “big step forward” and represents the most powerful and “most versatile streaming media player we’ve ever made”.

Amazon is also launching the Alexa Voice Remote Pro, a premium remote that comes with customisable buttons and a remote finder feature.

“With Alexa Voice Remote Pro, we’re making it easy to find a misplaced remote and get to the apps and content you love,” Rausch said.

The Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order in the US for $139.99, while the Alexa Voice Remote Pro can be pre-ordered in the US for $34.99.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic