Amazon reveals mystery new device and hints at its ‘everyday objects’ ambitions

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Amazon has ambitions to produce ‘every day objects’ as the future of its business Amazon has unveiled a mysterious new device that looks like a version of Alexa,…

Amazon reveals mystery new device and hints at its 'everyday objects' ambitions

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Amazon has ambitions to produce ‘every day objects’ as the future of its business

Amazon has unveiled a mysterious new device that looks like a version of Alexa, but instead on wheels.

Astro, which will be available to customers this summer, is a “home robot that can explore and build for you”.

It is designed to connect with voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.

A spokesperson told BBC News that “we will make announcements about future Alexa capabilities as they become available”.

Astro will be available to customers for $199 (£160).

Its design is a step away from Alexa, a cylindrical cylinder that sits on top of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers.

When asked by Amazon about the new robot, Amazon could not immediately confirm that it would be compatible with Alexa.

Ormazd​ao ็ทีกและองบรุกลัง ชัวุกมากคิตา์。

https://t.co/WZO2nupBgo — Amazon (@amazon) July 13, 2018

The company said that Astro “can support more than two dozen languages and 150 commands”.

It comes more than a year after Amazon rolled out voice assistant Alexa on a white-coloured robotic device called the Echo Look.

The Amazon spokesperson said this was a natural progression of the smart device.

Image copyright News UK Image caption The white-coloured Echo Look was launched last year

“When Alexa launched last year, the idea was to give people a voice to talk to,” he said.

“For us, Alexa was just the start. We designed it to be smart but it’s just an initial step.

“That’s why we focused on Alexa so long and hard, and so importantly, we’ve introduced products like the Echo Look to show people that Alexa is just the beginning.

“Soon, we will introduce other technologies that can help people interact with their home from any Alexa device.”

Amazon’s Echo Look is similar to a regular “smart mirror” that also has a camera and storage for photos and videos.

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Alexa is an ever-present presence in Amazon’s websites and applications, and interacts with customers’ smart speakers, televisions, lightbulbs and a range of other smart devices.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 180 million Alexa users in more than 190 countries.

Amazon has plans to produce more than just individual machines, the spokesperson said.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The question is, are customers ready for more than one kind of Amazon device?

“Our vision is to get our customers devices to do just about anything.

“As we’ve done with Echo and Alexa, we will work closely with the electronics industry to innovate and bring them these everyday objects that they couldn’t live without.”

Analysts agree that Amazon must find its way forward if it is to maintain its market dominance.

“With more competitors, growth in the speaker segment will slow, which could mean that growth for Amazon’s voice assistant business will be much less robust,” Scott Dyer, an analyst at Germany’s Deka Research, told BBC News.

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