Following several leaks, Amazon this week unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo platform of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.
While previous versions of the Echo have been all about speech and listening, this new device takes a more visual turn: you can use the Echo Show to make and receive video calls, with other humans. Echo Show will also play music videos and enhance skills that you already use on the existing Echo, for example you can now see music lyrics for Amazon Music.
The device’s potentially biggest feature the calls and messaging also introduces Amazon’s move into a key, new area of services. Alexa Calling, as the feature is named, will also work on other Echo devices, and the Alexa app.
Amazon first hit the market for voice-controlled home hubs with its Echo device, and it followed that up last month with a new iteration called the Echo Look that included a camera but no screen. Considering Amazon’s other efforts in media, specifically with Prime Video and its Fire Stick to enable on-demand channels and Amazon services, you can see (literally and figuratively) where this might be going.
Similar to the recently announce Echo Look there is no word (yet) on a Canadian release for the Echo platform, disappointingly for Canada.