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Amazon Astro home robot: How to preorder the $1,000 Alexa bot and everything else announced – CNET

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Amazon announced several new additions during Tuesday’s product launch, including this new robot, Astro. 


Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Amazon unveiled a new line of smart home and security devices at its fall invite-only product launch this week (see below). But the big reveal was a $1,000 smart robot called Astro, an Alexa assistant-meets-security-camera on wheels that can move through your home to check on your loved ones, make calls, play music and more. But with this bot’s feature set comes more privacy concerns.

Amazon says that Astro will have “out of bounds zones” and the ability to disable mics and speakers. All in all, Astro is just one of the many ways robots are coming to life. We’ll tell you how you can preorder the smart bot and when it will ship below. 

As well as Astro, Amazon introduced the new Echo Show 15 and an updated Halo View fitness band with a screen. A year after it was first announced, the flying Ring drone Always Home camera is up for preorder. (Note that the Ring line has been subject to criticism about privacy concerns.) And a truckload of new features and accessories are coming, too. Hey Disney is bringing interactive Disney characters and commands to life in Echo devices (here’s more on Echo wake words) and Alexa Together is a new subscription service for caregivers and their loved ones.

There’s a lot to preorder and unpack from yesterday’s event. We’ll tell you what’s available now, how to request the special invitation-only devices and when the new line of products will be available. This story was recently updated. 

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Astro is a new robot that brings AI to your home. You can sign up to request an invite today and Astro will ship later this year. It’s an adorable robot that follows voice commands and keeps an eye on your home with its periscope camera. Astro can show a live view via the mobile app, so you can check on your home when you’re away. Astro works with Alexa Together and Ring Protect Pro, and comes with a six-month free trial of the latter. Anticipating criticism, Amazon offers some privacy features with Astro:

  • No-go zones 
  • Do not disturb features
  • Alexa’s standard privacy features

Read more: Amazon’s Astro: New details on price, privacy, battery, specs and more


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Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Amazon partnered with the Honeywell Home thermostat team to create an Energy Star-certified smart thermostat that competes with Nest. Most customers may be able to get the thermostat for free after utility rebates. It’s an Alexa-enabled thermostat that supports routines and automatically adjusts temperatures. It’s available for preorder now and will ship starting Nov. 4. A few of the top features you can look forward to include:

  • Control your thermostat using the Alexa app or voice commands
  • An energy dashboard to breakdown your usage on your Echo device or the Alexa app 
  • Thermostat Hunches, which automatically adjusts the temperature

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Amazon’s new Echo Show is bigger than previous models. Now, it comes with a 15.6-inch display and only comes in one color: black. However, you can mount it on the wall or place it on a stand. The newest model now has facial recognition for personalized alerts and more when the hub recognizes your face, tightening the competition with Apple. It also comes with personalized to-do lists, like Google’s Hub Max. But the Echo Show 15 comes with a few highly anticipated features. 

  • Custom sounds that allow Alexa to listen to specific noises in your home (available in 2022)
  • Visual ID to give you more customized calendars and reminders
  • Customizable Alexa widgets 

You can sign up to receive an email when the Echo Show 15 is available for preorder.

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

The Amazon Glow is a brand-new kid-friendly smart device (yes, it’s different to the Echo Glow night light). Kids can use the video screen to chat with long-distance family and friends. It includes a silicone mat to read, play and draw with loved ones. You’ll also get a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus for access to digital books, games and more. The Amazon Glow comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee if you happen to break it. You can request an invite to the Glow program today

  • Games and activities from Mattel, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sesame Street
  • Pre-approved contacts using the Amazon Glow app 
  • Camera with privacy shutter 


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Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

The Halo View is a new addition to Amazon’s Halo family. The latest Amazon fitness tracker has a few new features, including an AMOLED color display screen. Halo View users can also look forward to Halo Fitness and Nutrition services that will help with exercise and healthy eating. It benefits the Halo user in several ways, including the movement, emotional tone and the camera’s body analyses. And it still works with the original Halo band. But these new additions might be worth upgrading from Amazon’s Halo. 

  • 7-day battery life 
  • Water resistant down to 50 meters 
  • Skin and temperature tracking 

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Apple Shares New 'Movie Magic' Shot on iPhone 13 Pro Video – MacRumors

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Apple today continued with its long-running “Shot on iPhone” series, uploading another “Experiments” video that focuses on the camera capabilities of the iPhone 13 Pro.

The “Movie Magic” video features Dong Hoon Jun and visual artist James Thornton explaining how they shot a short sci-fi film. The video highlights various effects that can be captured with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and a set of props like hyperspeed, an outer space look, anti-gravity, a cloudscape, and more.

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AirPods 3 make it easier to skip songs. Here's how to use the force sensor – CNET

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AirPods 3 give you another way to control audio playback.


Apple/CNET

Apple unveiled the AirPods 3 on Monday at its October launch event (here’s how to buy the new AirPods). The latest wireless earbuds sport a new design, spatial audio for a more immersive listening experience, faster charging and better battery life, as well as sweat and water resistance. 

Apple’s force sensor, featured on the AirPod Pro stem, is also now available on the AirPods 3, which means it’s easier to play or pause music, skip songs (or audiobooks and podcasts) and answer and end calls. 

Here’s how it works.

Control audio with force sensor on AirPods 3 earbud

  • Play or pause audio: Press the force sensor on the stem of one of your AirPods once.
  • Skip forward: Double-press the stem.
  • Skip backward: Triple-press the stem.

Phone calls with force sensor on AirPods 3 earbud

  • Answer a call: Press the force sensor on the stem.
  • Decline a call or send it to voicemail: Double-press the sensor on the stem. 

For more, check out how to buy the new AirPods 3 and everything that was announced at Apple’s October event.

Correction, Oct. 20: A previous version of this article mistakenly said that the new AirPods case contained a force sensor. The force sensor is only found in the new AirPods 3.

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U.S. lawmakers urge speedy action on U.S semiconductor chips funding

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A bipartisan group of 38 U.S. House lawmakers on Thursday urged leaders in Congress to immediately set a path to advance legislation providing $52 billion for U.S. semiconductor production including $2 billion in support for chips used by the automotive industry.

The  U.S. Senate voted 68-32 in June to approve a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology, including providing $52 billion for chips, but the measure has stalled in the House.

The House lawmakers in a letter warned of the “dire consequences the automotive industry as a whole—and the nation—faces if we fail to advance legislation soon.”

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson)

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