Amazon Event: Tech Titan Unveils New Home Drone, Speakers, Gaming Service
Product event focuses on smart home, security as more people stay indoors during the coronavirus pandemic
Amazon’s Echo Buds, for example, are priced at $129.99, although the company at times has sold them for $89.99. Apple’s cheapest AirPods retail at $159.99, although they sometimes sell at a discount as well. The AirPods, however, have been more popular and accounted for nearly half of all sales of wireless earbuds in 2019, according to Counterpoint Research.
Amazon’s strategy puts less pressure on the company to establish hardware hits compared with Apple, said Gene Munster, an analyst at Loup Ventures, a venture-capital firm specializing in tech research. The company is searching for its next big hit after its Echo smart speakers were unveiled in 2014.
“Amazon takes these events as opportunities to basically do market research about a product’s viability,” he said. “Amazon isn’t held to the same hardware standard as a company like Apple, so they have more flexibility to experiment. Alexa began as an experiment.”
Amazon has sought to integrate Alexa into as many products as possible and experimented greatly with that goal. Last year’s event, which was highlighted by the Alexa-enabled Echo Buds, also included announcements for eye frames and a finger ring featuring Alexa that the company has only made available to select customers.
There are few consumer categories in which Amazon is absent. In late August, the company revealed a health and wellness tracker named Halo that the company said tracks users’ body-fat percentage, heart rate, sleep and emotions. The band is retailing at $64.99, but the price will rise to $99.99 after the initial rollout.
In recent years, the retailer has pushed itself further into the smart-home and security industries. Much of that effort has centered around its popular but controversial Ring cameras. As of the second quarter of this year, Amazon was the top vendor by shipments in both the smart-speaker and video-doorbell categories, according to Strategy Analytics.