Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you. Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.
While previous versions of the Echo have been all about asking Alexa questions and getting responses from her, this new device takes a more IRL turn: one of the main selling points is that you can use the Echo Show to make and take video calls, with other humans.
The device, which comes in black and white versions, will cost $229.99 and will be shipped from June 28, with preorders available now. It appears that it will be available first in the U.S. only.
For those who follow the company, the new device may not come as a surprise, following several leaks about the product before today, with two coming in the last week alone, one yesterday claiming the device would be unveiled today.
“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,” Amazon notes in its blurb on its product page. You can use the device for video calls and it looks like it will also integrate and enhance skills that you already use on the existing Echo, for example you can now see music lyrics for Amazon Music. It also has Dolby-powered speakers and eight microphones, and lets you use existing Alexa skills that do not have a video component. You can see more on how the Echo Show works in Romain’s run-down here.
The device’s potentially biggest feature — the calls and messaging — also herald’s 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. More on this here.
The device weighs 41 ounces, nearly 1.1 kilos. It’s not a mobile phone replacement, that’s for sure!