The long-rumored “Amazon Echo but with a screen” has arrived, in the form of the company’s newly-announced Echo Show. The touchscreen-centric, Alexa-powered Amazon Echo Show comes equipped with 8 powerful mics, Dobly bass & stereo sound, and a 7″ color screen.
The touchscreen—in fact, its very inclusion on an Echo device—is the hero here. Sure, relatively ho-hum features such as displaying lyrics while playing songs via Amazon Music are now possible on the Echo Show; however, tasks such as viewing weather radar or home security camera footage position Amazon’s connected device as more of an “in-home personal assistant” than simply a “smart speaker”. Amazon also is touting out-of-the-box integrations with YouTube, CNN video, and, of course, the company’s own eCom platform for browsing & shopping for products without stepping away from your new Echo Show.
The newest Echo also brings Amazon back into the phone business—in a manner of speaking. Video calling will be available on the Amazon Echo Show via the company’s mobile app. The Echo Show will be able to communicate with other Echo Show devices on video conference calls, and legacy Echo devices via standard voice-only communications.
The touchscreen Echo Show received some criticism for it’s “clunky” design when images of the device were first leaked last week; and, let’s face it: compared to its sleek predecessors, the Show looks a tad outdated. Keep in mind, a 7-inch touchscreen and all of those mics/speakers need to fit somewhere—so the spherical design of previous Echo models wasn’t practical.
With an 80% share of the “smart speaker” market, Amazon already has a significant leg-up on the competition—and will now be first-to-market with a connected device of its kind with a touchscreen. The company has done an impressive job at fending off Google and their “smart speaker”, but with Apple reportedly soon joining the mix, Amazon is launching a pre-emptive strike with the Echo Show.
For those that can get over the look of the Echo Show for all of its benefits, preorders have begun. The device will run you $229.99, and begins shipping in the US on June 28th.