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Always Home Cam: Amazon's flying Ring drone might be tricky to get your hands on

Are you going to request an invitation?

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest
2 min read

Amazon announced during its fall hardware event Tuesday that the Ring Always Home Cam -- the flying drone camera announced during the same event last year -- will begin selling this fall. Starting today, you can request an invitation to buy the Always Home Cam.

The Ring Always Home Cam will cost $250, and it will be able to fly around your house following a preset flight path. You'll be able to schedule a route around the house or trigger a trip manually. In addition, the camera will be able to respond to certain events -- such as an armed door/window sensor in the Ring Alarm system being set off.

The camera is not designed to cover multiple floors, so flying up or down stairs seems to be out, along with remote control, which Ring said will not be possible for security and privacy reasons. The Always Home Cam will not be able to record footage while it's docked, and its loud propellers will make its presence known, in case you're worried about its access to private spaces in your home.

Ring's privacy has been the subject of close scrutiny and sharp criticism -- particularly for how it has shared user information with police, and how it has facilitated video sharing on its public app and with police. Despite some recent improvements to its policies, releasing a flying drone camera complicates already-difficult questions about where Ring stands on privacy. Indoor security cameras have contributed to serious privacy breaches as it is; to attach propellers to one and enable it to fly autonomously around a house potentially compounds the existing problems. (Ring's indoor cameras, including the Always Home Cam, cannot be used to respond to Requests for Assistance posts by police.)

Amazon's strategy for rolling out the drone cam is perhaps more telling than it seems. The tech giant has relied on invite-only sales when a device's uptake has been uncertain -- the Echo Auto, Alexa Microwave and other so-called Day 1 devices spring to mind here. The strategy, in these cases, has been explicit: limit the initial release to measure market interest. (UK and Australian prices were not announced, but $250 is about £185 or AU$345.)

The Always Home Cam has certainly grabbed headlines. The question is whether it will get people to pull out their credit cards -- or their Prime cards. Or perhaps, eventually, to ask Alexa to order it for them.

Watch this: Biggest announcements from Amazon's fall event

At Tuesday's event, Amazon also announced the Ring Alarm Pro, Amazon Blink, the Astro, a new custom alerts feature and more. The company unveiled that Ring will soon let you hire virtual security guards to monitor your doorbell feed, as well.