Echo Show: The next unveiling of the Amazon Ecosystem

Amazon has officially unveiled its latest Echo product: a touchscreen device with built-in Alexa called the Echo Show.  The device is now available to preorder from Amazon for $229.99.

Some quick blurbs from Amazon’s site:

  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more

The Echo Show seems to have a lot on its hands. At first glance, it does everything your Alexa does, with a built in screen, that adds various functionalities. As with what you expect in Amazon products, it works best within its own ecosystem. For example, the Echo screen can be used as a digital photo frame by pulling pictures stored on Prime Photos. If you’re listening to music through Amazon Music, it’ll put up the lyrics up on the screen. Amazon says the device can also be connected to Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras, letting users check their video feed with commands like “Alexa, show me the front door.” This not only enables users to feel more safe, but the possibilities of this can save you hundreds of dollars on security cameras.

The most intriguing new feature, though, is access to video and voice calls. Anyone can make or receive a call through the Show if they have the Alexa app. Sadly, it doesn’t seem that there will be support for Skype as of now, but there is a new Amazon feature called “Drop In,” which lets friends and family make a call at any time.

As someone who is constantly on the go, its always a great reminder to be able to see my grandmother and check up on her. While I haven’t received one yet personally, I am defiently interested to see how this would work in the world of communication. Would we no longer have a need to use landlines? Who knows?

The Amazon Echo is something to look forward to, once released on June 28, 2017. *Right now, Amazon is currently offering 2 for $330*