echo show, amazon

After popularizing smart home speakers powered by voice-activated assistants, Amazon is planning to keep the lead intact. And with regards to the same, all the insistent speculations and rumors have been proven true with the official debut of the much-awaited Echo with a touchscreen. Called Echo Show, this device is now available for pre-order over at Amazon for $299.99.

This development comes fresh on the heels of the release of the camera-equipped smart device called Echo Look. The Echo Show is a WiFi-enabled smart home speaker with a crisp 7-inch screen attached to the top of the speaker base. It weighs around 41 ounces, that is nearly 1.1 kilograms (surely a heavy product) and includes a cohort of eye-catching features.

We’ve already mentioned the two very prominent components but it also brings along an eight microphone array (an upgrade from its usual 7-mic array, which is now open to third-party hardware makers) and a high-definition front camera, which will surely come in handy. We had been betting on Skype’s integration in Harman Kardon’s speaker to push Cortana out in the smart speaker fist fight but Amazon has trumped its competition once again.

While you’ve been extended the traditional functionalities of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, such as asking it to relay your calendar appointments, playback your favorite playlist or access nearly 10,000 skills developed for the assistant. But, the newly added screen further enhances the functionality of this smart speaker.

An Echo will no longer be a device which you can yell at from any corner of the house, you’ll now be able to see additional info about the task at hand on the display above the bulky speaker. You can simply ask Alexa to orde anything from Amazon and it will display a cohort of options for you to choose from. For example: if you say, Alexa, order five packs of doritos then it’ll show you flavor options and you can pick the ones you want — all via voice commands.

The device can not only stream content directly on the screen, from broadcasters such as CNN but also act as a digital photo frame. It will have access to all your pictures stored on Prime Photos. On playing music from Amazon Music, it will display lyrics for each song on the display. However, the most interesting features of the Echo Show are — surveillance and real-life video conversations.

Using the former, you can use the Alexa app on your smartphone and spew commands like “Alexa, show me the front door” to gain access to the video feed from WiFi-enabled cameras connected to the Echo device. But, this is further trumped by their video calling functionality, which is accessible only via the Alexa app — you cannot use Skype or FaceTime. It allows you call anyone with an Echo Show, who can then receive calls with just a voice command “Alexa, answer the video call”.

The Amazon Echo Show is available in two color variants  — black and white. The device is currently up for pre-order (but only in the United States) and will start shipping to customers on June 28. The e-commerce giant is silently running a promotional offer which allows you to purchase two Echo Show devices for $360.

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