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Kangaroo's $20 smart doorbell has a catch

It only takes photos.

It's 20 bucks, but it doesn't have live video streaming or recording.

Home security company Kangaroo on Wednesday introduced its latest device -- a $20 doorbell. We've seen plenty of affordable security devices, but a cheap doorbell is new, welcome territory in the smart home. 

But there's a catch: This doorbell, dubbed the Kangaroo Photo Doorbell, doesn't offer livestreaming video -- and it doesn't store recorded footage in a video database on the app.

Instead, the Photo Doorbell is supposed to take a series of pictures when motion is detected and stitch them together into GIFs. The doorbell runs on three AA batteries and supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. 

The Photo Doorbell can work as a standalone product, or be paired with a Kangaroo Siren + Keypad device -- or the upcoming Kangaroo Chime accessory. Both the Kangaroo Siren + Keypad and the Kangaroo Chime are supposed to form a mesh network with the Photo Doorbell, giving it an estimated battery life of 18 months.

Kangaroo tells me the doorbell's expected battery life without a Siren + Keypad or a Kangaroo Chime is around two months. 

The Kangaroo Photo Doorbell is available for preorder now and is expected to ship by the end of May. The Kangaroo Chime will be available in late June and will be sold bundled with the Photo Doorbell for $20 (the same price as the standalone doorbell). You can also get a Kangaroo Photo Doorbell bundled with the Kangaroo Security Kit, which includes a Siren + Keypad, for $79.