On Tuesday, Amazon introduced the new Echo Show, the latest device of the Echo lineup. This time, the company is presenting a product with a 7-inch touch display enabled with Alexa video and voice calls. It starts shipping on June 28 for $229.99.
Amazon is also rolling out Alexa Calling and Messaging across the entire Echo family of devices, except for the Echo Look. The feature is free to use, and it will also be available to users of the official Alexa app on iOS and Android.
The Echo Show is now the third iteration of the iconic smart home hub. Some experts suggest the online retail giant’s strategy is based on releasing different versions of the same device with features that adapt to specific user needs.
What’s new on the Amazon Echo Show?
With the new Echo Show, Amazon is trying to prove that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks. The Alexa-powered gadget now packs a 7-inch touchscreen that enables it to do more than its brother devices.
The Echo Show supports the entire library of Alexa skills we already know, but it brings enhanced usability as a smart home command center. With a display, you can now check on your Wi-Fi-enabled security camera feed or baby monitors.
The screen is also useful to not only listen but watch content on the Amazon Echo. The device can stream music from Amazon Music and display the lyrics of the song as it plays, while it also supports Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
Movie trailers, YouTube videos, and Amazon Video content can be watched on the Echo Show, although it is not clear at this point if the smart hub will support proper video streaming from its proprietary platform or competing services like Netflix.
Alexa, call my mother, please
Still, the richest feature of all has got to be Amazon Calling and Messaging. Compatible with the traditional Echo, the Echo Dot, other Echo Shows, and mobile devices via the Alexa app, users can leave voice messages or make calls for free.
On the Echo Show, there is a unique option called Drop In. This feature allows only select contacts to start a video call with other users instantly. Amazon says this option was designed to check in on people that may need regular monitoring, such as children and elderly relatives.
Unlike other calls, people will have a 10-second window only to hang up or choose to pick up with audio feed only. The Echo Show has a pair of 2-inch Dolby speakers with room-filling range and clear audio relay.
Price and availability
For those worried about their privacy, the Echo Show has the lineup’s signature mute button on top, which mutes both the microphones and the camera. It is available for pre-order now in Black or White designs for $229.99, and there is a limited-time offer on a set of two Echo Shows for $359.99.