Echo with a screen
Amazon has made an addition to its Echo product line. As revealed today the new Show will be the first product of its family to have a visual interface. The new “drop in” messaging feature users can also accept video or voice calls from other similar smart devices. This will be a quantum leap into touch screen capable smart-devices. Priced at $229, it will make a compelling tablet at the very least.
The show sports a forward-facing 5-megapixel camera and two Dolby stereo speakers. This gives the user a commendable media experience while making video or voice calls. The shape and the 7-inch front facing camera and speakers gives it an old school look of a counter top TV set from the late 80’s – in a good way. The product is in fact packed with surprisingly nifty features.
How does it work? Ask Alexa.
The product is essentially an standard Echo. But it also has some features of a smart phone. Users can make video or audio calls using their device. Amazon’s “Alexa”, a virtual personal assistant, is included as a standard feature. Multiple appliances will be able to call each other. When a call comes in, users are given a 10 second time frame to either answer or reject a “drop-in” every time it comes in, and can also create a whitelist of designated individuals who also possess an Echo. To block individuals, simply remove them from the list, and they wouldn’t be able to “drop in” on you. These white-listed users can either be an Alexa app user or an Echo Show user. As with most “smart” devices the Echo comes with the “do not disturb button” as well in case you need to block that one annoying contact.
With this release, Amazon has entered into the next stage of the battle between Google and itself in the arena of smart home products. According to statistics from eMarketer, Amazon’s Echo devices will capture a larger market than Google’s Home – 70.6% and 23.8% respectively. This could mean a boost in sales for Amazon’s Echo range of products and well as other emerging or innovative competitors in the smart speaker market. It will be interesting to see the competing response to this product.