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Amazon officially owns Ring, so let’s talk product integration

Amazon’s acquisition of Ring officially closed today. Now the companies (or company, rather) are marking the occasion by discounting the Ring Video Doorbell $30, down to $100 — because what better way to celebrate scalability and maximum distribution than a price drop?

Amazon is quick to note in its press material that the Ring name is sticking around — for the time being, at least. The company’s products will be joining a bunch of other smart home devices under the Amazon umbrella, including the company’s own Cloud Cam and various devices by one-time competitor, Blink.

Among other things, that means that existing customers shouldn’t expect service interruptions with the product. That said, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the company pushing toward an Alexa-based smart home hub solution to rival offerings like Apple’s Home app. Certainly it would make sense for the company to try to put everything in the same place — and could ultimately make things a bit less fragmented for the consumer.

A recent interview with Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff also hints at what the company will ultimately look like in relation to Amazon’s Key service, which met with mixed reviews at launch.

“As it relates to Key, that’s obviously one that we’ll look at pretty closely,” he told CNET. “I wouldn’t want to make any commitments at this point in time, but it’s certainly one that’s on the list that we’ll start thinking about.”

Not super insightful, but about as much as one can expect from the head of a company recently purchased by Amazon. While Siminoff says Ring will stay relatively independent, maintaining its Santa Monica office, becoming a piece of Amazon’s smart home play likely means deeper and deeper integrations with the company’s home hardware offerings.

Amazon’s clearly been eying the company for a while. The company backed Ring through the Alexa Fund, which has become a bit of a funnel for future acquisitions of late, as it looks to leverage the Echo/Alexa’s success into an all-out smart home takeover.

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Amazon is reportedly working on a home robot

For Amazon’s latest hardware trick, the company has apparently been working on a home robot under the codename, “Vesta.” That nugget comes via Bloomberg sources, who report that the online retail giant expects to start trialing the device in employee homes this year, with plans to launch it to consumers as early as 2019. The project has apparently been in the works for a number of years, but things are finally starting to take off, as the company lists openings for a number of gigs in and around robotics, with titles like “Software Engineer, Robotics.” No word on precisely what such a robot would do, and Amazon, naturally, isn’t commenting. The home market has been a tough one of the robotics industry to crack — a feat not really accomplished by any devices, beyond the Roomba and derivative cleaning robots. A number of assistant robots have bubbled up over the years, essentially adding moving parts to a smart speaker category. Certainly Alexa functionality is a given for whatever Amazon might be working on — even the Roomba has added that feature in the last year. Other companies like Sphero spinoff, Misty Robotics, are hoping to bring more advanced functionality to the market, though they’ve given themselves what equates to a 10 year runway. But while the industry appears bullish about the future of robots in the home, it may well take a tech giant like Amazon to really crack the code as it did a few years back with the Echo. Jeff Bezos, of course, is a well-known friend to robots. He’s been seen around town with the likes of SpotMini recently, and before that, the company acquired Kiva Systems to form Amazon Robotics. That department, however, has been primarily focused on fulling Amazon’s own shipping and logistics requirements with industrial warehouse robots. Vesta, on the other hand, is said to be the product of Lab126 — the Amazon R&D center that gave the world the Echo and a bevy of Fire devices.

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