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What's coming from Amazon: A robotic pet, hands-free TVs and autonomous taxis

2023-05-27T10:43:03.706Z

Highlights: The company tests new products and services in the United States that it plans to extend to the rest of the world starting next year. Astro, the robotic pet that Amazon tests in the US, follows a woman in a house. Luna is an online gaming platform that will be available to Amazon customers from next March in the U.S. and then move to Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Kuiper is the most ambitious project of the three models for the reception of the internet signal from the satellites.


The company tests new products and services in the United States that it plans to extend to the rest of the world starting next year.


Astro, the robotic pet that Amazon tests in the US, follows a woman in a house. Amazon

Amazon is clear that it does not want to be a manufacturer of mobile phones for now, after the failure of the Fire Phone, and that it is forced to fight for the leadership of electronic commerce in the face of fierce Chinese competition from AliExpress or the emerging Temu. He also knows what his immediate strategy is: to conquer the home with devices and services that automate it to the maximum. But, as in the world of the scene, the show must continue and its headquarters in the United States work and test new devices and services that they plan to extend to the rest of the world, such as a robotic mascot (Astro), 4K UHD televisions that are controlled by voice (Omni), an online gaming platform (Luna) and the big bet: become an internet provider where fiber does not reach with its own satellite network (Kuiper) that faces Starlink, the service created by Elon Musk.

Astro, Amazon's home robot, can check for improperly closed doors or windows.

Star. "Within 5 or 10 years, every house will have at least one robot." It is the premise of Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon for devices and services, for the development of this mobile device launched two years ago by invitation and that still continues in tests by users. It has been considered an Alexa (the company's voice assistant) on wheels. But Limp thinks it's something else: "It gets closer to a pet. He is in the scope of the company and, in that field, personality has been added to it." Astro shares a name with the dog of The Jetsons, the futuristic animation family created by Hanna-Barbera, will have its own voice and its screen shows reactions that simulate emotions from two eyes reminiscent of emoticons.

Ken Washington, vice president of consumer robotics, explains that it has two hours of autonomy and can move without colliding in complex environments and without light, that it can interact with the members of the house, supervise pets, check the security status of the home, track how an elderly person or children is and provide entertainment.

Washington defends that all processes are carried out and stored on the device, that no data is shared in the cloud and that it has all the guarantees of privacy. The expected price when the testing phase ends will be around $ 1,500 (1,373 euros).

Daniel Rausch, Amazon's vice president for entertainment and services, shows off features of the new TVs at the company's Seattle headquarters.

Televisions. Amazon has already bet on the Fire TV and Cube devices to update and convert old devices into a TV with an internet connection and voice commands at a low price. But the goal is to offer its own device, in addition to integrating its system into screens of other brands. It is the latest generation of the Omni series, 4K Ultra HD TVs that are already marketed with 65 inches in the United States for 549 euros ($600). These devices are part of the connected home strategy and respond by voice commands not only to the requirements related to television, but to all connected devices. In addition, it becomes an image frame, an Alexa more, an image creator at the request of the user and a game monitor.

"We've gotten used to the idea that there's a part of our house [the TV] that we put aside, that doesn't do anything for us and that's ugly. We believe we can restore what it means, help users and make it the center of the home," said Daniel Rausch, Amazon's vice president for entertainment and services.

A player observes Luna's game offering on their screens. Amazon

Moon. It is an online gaming platform that will be available to Amazon customers from next March in the United States and then move to Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. There is no date for its implementation in Spain and the rest of the countries. The platform can be played with any existing device, will be able to use mobile as a controller (although there will be offers of specific devices) and will include Fortnite.

Rausch justifies this year of testing in that "doing the processing of a video game in the cloud and then bringing it, at a sufficient pace, to a customer's home, to their living room, entails many complex technical problems to solve." "The first job," he adds, "is to make sure it really works. Then, reach as many customers as we can, but there are different standards, technologies, regulations, supply chains... They are not impediments, but they are things that take time in product development and business."

One of the three antenna models for the reception of the internet signal from Amazon.Amazon satellites

Kuiper. It is the most ambitious project of the commerce giant: "To bring the internet reliably, quickly and cheaply," according to Naveen Kachroo, responsible for the project, to 2.900 billion people who, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of the UN, lack access to the network or have never used it.

The way to reach this huge community, which accounts for 37% of the world's population, is through space, a business in which Elon Musk already operates with Starlink. For this, according to Kachroo, this year the production of satellites begins and there are already 77 launches contracted with the aim of reaching 2029 with 90% of the constellation (in total there will be 3,226 satellites) deployed.

Global data traffic this year is equivalent to watching 43 billion high-definition movies

The receivers will be antennas of 18 square centimeters (100 megabytes per second), 28 (400 Mbps) and 81 by 46 centimeters for traffic needs of one gigabyte per second.

The market, in addition to residential without fiber services, is small and medium-sized industry, public services in remote areas, transport, telecommunications companies and emergency devices.

Robotaxi Zoox from Amazon.Zoox

Zoox. It is the name of the autonomous taxis that Amazon already tests in California with its employees and that are still in development, as can be seen on the streets of Seattle, Amazon's main headquarters and where EL PAÍS has gone along with a score of international media invited by the company. "In the next two decades, our population in most of the world will be over 65 years old," says Limp to explain that it will be one of the strategic sectors for this type of services. The manager admits that it is a risky sector, but they assume it with confidence in technological development. "With the advances we have in artificial intelligence, we think it's a manageable problem," he concludes.

You can write to rlimon@elpais.es and follow EL PAÍS Tecnología on Facebook and Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Source: elparis

All tech articles on 2023-05-27

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