By: Nick Gambino
The popular Amazon Echo has added a convenient IoT tool to our everyday lives; an audio assistant that can answer virtually any verbal question and even purchase anything you need without the need for typing or tapping. Now with the new Amazon Echo Show you’ll be able to make video calls and engage visually, solely through voice commands.
Announced on Tuesday, the Echo Show is a cube-shaped Echo with a 7-inch screen for the added visual component. Users will now be able to video call any other Alexa-enabled device with a screen or a smartphone with the Alexa app. (Watch out Skype.)
Unlike other video call services like FaceTime, WhatsApp or Google Hangout you can just “drop in” to a call with the feature aptly titled “Drop In.” This means you won’t have to wait for someone to answer the call, you can just show up.
This feature is likely to stir up mixed reactions. For some with children, they’ll like the ability to check in on them without having to battle ignored calls. For others, this might be viewed as an invasion of privacy. Think Mel Brooks trying to use the bathroom in Spaceballs. “I told you never to call me on this wall. This is an unlisted wall.”
Luckily, you’ll have the option to turn “Drop In” off if you find you can’t stand unannounced inspection. It does seem this might have some security benefit if you wanted to call into your home and check things out visually.
In addition to video calls, Alexa will display answers to your questions and show you products to peruse. You’ll also be able to watch videos on YouTube and see streaming music lyrics from Spotify, Pandora, etc. Basically, there’s no limit to what developers can add now that the Echo has a screen.
The Echo Show is available for pre-order now and will be shipping out to the U.S. on June 28th. It’ll set you back a mere $229.99. You can pre-order it here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.