Without a doubt, the Ring Always Home Cam was the wildest product that Amazon unveiled at its fall 2020 hardware event. This indoor drone soared onto the scene—literally—with its ability to fly and hover inside your house, recording security footage as it goes. The big question then: When—if ever—would it ship?
During today’s fall hardware presentation, Amazon-owned Ring announced that the Always Home Cam is indeed poised to arrive soon, but not everyone will be able to get one, or at least not yet.
Ring says that interested Always Home Cam users can apply for an invitation to purchase the $250 flying security camera starting today. A “limited” number of applicants with “different home environments” will be allowed into the early access program to “help Ring gather additional data and feedback,” a Ring rep said, adding that the first Always Home Cam units will ship “later this year.”
The by-invititation-only policy for the Always Home Cam is similar to the by-invitation Day One Editions of the Echo Frames, essentially a pair of glasses with Alexa built-in, and Echo Loop, an Alexa-enabled ring.
Notably, only one of those earlier Day One Edition products—the second-gen Alexa Frames—ultimately became available to anyone who wanted them. Amazon shelved the Echo Loop about a year after its 2019 unveiling, never having graduated from its Day One status.
So, will the Ring Always Home Cam be doomed to the same fate as the Echo Loop? Only time will tell, of course, although a camera-equipped, indoor drone for the home might end up being a tough sell.
The actual Always Home Cam (which we’ve yet to see in person) is a squat, square contraption with internal propellers and a thick, lower stem that houses the camera lens. When the camera isn’t flying around your home, it sits in a cube-shaped base station with a cavity for the stem, thus blocking the lens.
Ring says the Always Home Cam can follow a customizable, preset path around your house, patrolling either on demand or when it’s triggered by your Ring Alarm. You can watch a live feed of the drone while it’s hovering around your house, but you can’t manually steer the camera while it’s in flight—so no, you won’t be able to make the flying camera chase burglars.
Besides only being able to record while it’s flying, the Always Home Cam is designed to emit a telltale hum while it’s cruising around, so there’s little chance it could sneak up on anyone, while the drone’s obstacle avoidance system should keep it from crashing into anything.
We’re eager to test the Ring Always Home Cam for ourselves, so stay tuned for a full report once we spend some time with a test unit.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.