Online giant Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has unveiled its latest bid to get inside customers' homes, revealing a flying camera drone, which can stream live video to smartphones in case intruders break-in.
The indoor drone from the group's Ring home security firm, officially called the 'Always Home Cam' will be available next year, and aims to provide footage in spaces where customers do not have static cameras.
But it has already alarmed civil liberties groups and campaigners who say it could allow unwanted surveillance. One group described it as Amazon's "most chilling home surveillance product" yet.
The camera will initially only go on sale in the USA, with a price tag of US$250 (£192).
Reportedly Amazon, the firm behind voice assistant Alexa, said the drone can fly customers' "chosen, personalised paths so that you can easily check in on your home for peace of mind - like whether someone left a window open or forgot to turn the stove off". It cannot be manually controlled.
It can be integrated with Ring's home security system and perform a flight if an alarm goes off to see what is going on. "It’s super reassuring to be able to get a view inside your home,” Amazon vice-president Daniel Rausch was quoted as saying in an interview. "The device only records while flying."
Ring also announced a device for cars, which sounds an alarm when a break-in or bump is detected. Electric car titan Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is the first automaker whose models are compatible with the Ring Car Connect software.
Amazon has also unveiled a much-anticipated cloud-based gaming service called Luna, which can run games on remote computer servers so that players do not need to buy a console or other dedicated devices.
According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, global spending on smart home products is expected to drop around 15% in 2020 to US$44bn (£24.5bn) due to the pandemic. But it predicts a rebound in 2021.
Amazon shares ticked up 0.12% in pre-market to US$3,0123.39 each.
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