The Wall Street Journal put it this way:
"Amazon’s fall hardware event is often where it unveils oddball products such as the Alexa microwave and sticky note printer. This year, the e-commerce giant stuck mainly to more practical devices: a large Kindle e-reader with note-taking capabilities, a sleep-tracking bedside alarm clock and Echo speakers that can boost your Wi-Fi network … While Wednesday’s event was focused on hardware, Amazon’s underlying proposition is its software. As always, the new gadgets nudge customers toward the company’s digital offerings - e-books, health and wellness content, streaming video and more."
When the Journal says "oddball," it means often not-ready-for-prime-time: "A year ago, the company announced a home robot named Astro that it has yet to make widely available to all consumers. The same goes for a flying indoor security camera unveiled two years ago."
In additional coverage of Amazon's device announcement…
• Engadget writes that "Amazon had a few other announcements mostly centered around the car. First, there's a new Echo Auto that's slimmer than its predecessor and features a more secure adhesive grip. BMW also joined Amazon on stage to announce that it's working with the retailer to build the next version of its in-vehicle voice assistant using Alexa as a base. The automaker didn't share too many details about the project, but promised it would 'enable an even more natural dialogue between driver and vehicle'."
• The New York Times' "Wirecutter" desk reports that "Amazon says that a coming software update will enable its various lines of smart devices to work with Matter, the coming smart-home platform that is intended to allow devices from a wide range of brands to be compatible with one another."
• CNet reports that Amazon says "it wants to measure and reduce the carbon emissions of its Echo, Fire and Ring devices. The new initiatives offer more-sustainable devices and packaging, which is important considering their historically low prices, which encourage people to frequently replace and upgrade them."
- KC's View:
There are times when oddball device introductions might seem interesting, maybe even more so when in good times. But at the moment, IO think, it behooves Amazon to be thinking in a more practical manner … though to be sure, Amazon's definition of practical may be a little more expansive than most companies'.
CNBC had an interesting take, by the way, on one way in which Amazon differs from Apple, which also is known for rolling out unique devices:
"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."
In other words, Amazon's goal goes beyond wanting to sell us all more stuff. It wants to be inextricably and intimately connected to every part of our lives. (Sound familiar?)