Amazon's New Echo Show Is Impressive, But Don't Count Google Out Yet

Angelica Greene
May 10, 2017

With an Amazon Echo speaker today, you can talk to Alexa, the virtual assistant that powers the device, and ask it to play songs, order diapers and even turn on your air-conditioner. When you want to use Echo Show, just say the wake word "Alexa" and Echo Show responds instantly.

The 7-inch screen on the new Echo Show enables the speaker to supplement voice responses with visuals and other information displays, similar to the Echo-like features offered on the Fire tablets and Fire TV streaming devices. The company also introduced a new voice and video calling service that connects existing Echo speakers with the new Echo Show and mobile devices.

Amazon's Echo Show will cost buyers roughly $300 (which roughly translates to Rs 19,400) and the device will start shipping from June 28 in the U.S. to begin with.

In addition, Alexa has hundreds of skills that allow it to work with third-party devices, but the controls are also limited.

"You shouldn't be compelled to go and interact with the screen — you should be able to do it with your voice", Limp said in a product briefing. Just recently, it was launched in the United Kingdom, and instead of only being available in its standard black version, customers now have a choice between a black or white Echo.

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Amazon had its Echo speaker available earlier with the Alexa integration. However, Amazon does stress that all of its Echo devices will have support. And may help push video conferencing into demographics and markets that have thus far ignored it.

Like Microsoft, Amazon.com came too late to the smartphone market.

The Echo Show is a big part of that: While voice is a really important piece of that bigger Alexa puzzle, there are some things that are simply made easier by a screen. The Cortana-powered Harmon Kardon speaker will also make calls using Skype.

"Putting a semi-permanent ambient device in the home that can make and receive video calls is an interesting evolution which should prove compelling", said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson. Meanwhile, the camera itself is a problem - 23% of respondents wouldn't purchase the Echo Look because they're concerned about their privacy.

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