“Alexa”…. a name whom over the last couple years we have grown more and more accustomed to. Over the last number of years she has cornered the voice assistant market space in a way the Google and Apple have failed to do. I think the common consensus is that out of the Google Home, Apple Homepod and the Amazon Echo, it’s Alexa that wins every time. Anyway Alexa is back again this year in some new and improved hardware, one of which is the all new Echo Show. The tabletesque device that brings a visual element to voice control might just be one of the more interesting products we are going to see this year.
“Customers tell us they love the convenience of being able to ask Alexa to show them things,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Amazon Devices International.
Slick new Design and Improved Audio
To be fair the new Echo Show is a fine looking piece of kit. The 10″ HD display is the centre piece of a complete redesign that aims to bring voice and visual together with a style that will look good in the kitchen, the office or the living room. While the sound quality on the previous model wasn’t bad the new Echo show is fully loaded with a rake of new gear such as dual, side-firing 2-inch Neodymium drivers, a passive bass radiator and a Dolby processor. This give the Echo Show some real firepower so you can listen to your Spotify playlist or use Amazon music to see the on-screen lyrics play along with the music….Kitchen Karaoke here we come.
Get Help in the Kitchen
The new Echo Show is going to even more useful in the kitchen as Alexa now will be able to give you step by step cooking instructions. Simply pick your recipe and Alexa will talk you through a step by step guide with supporting visuals. You won’t ever have to touch the screen with wet or dirty hands while cooking to go to the next step as you can tell the device when you are ready to move on. Oh and in the next couple of months they will be adding new recipes, improving the visuals and adding a few extra things like the ability to set timers.
See who’s at the door with Ring compatibility
Ok, the video doorbell won’t be available until the end of the year but when it is you will be able to link up with Ring doorbell cameras. Just say “Alexa, answer the front door,” and you will be able to see who is at the door before you go and answer. That’s a cool little safety feature if you ask me. You can also have a bit of fun by using Alexa Routines to play custom announcement when the camera detects movement or someone rings the doorbell.
Built in Smarthub
The Echo Show will also come with a built in Zigbee smart home hub. This makes things very easy to set up your smart home. Say “Alexa, discover my devices,” and she will find and connect with all compatible bulbs, plugs and switches, all without the need for extra apps. Four words and that’s your set up complete, nice…
Improved Calling Options
The Echo Show comes with a 5MP camera that will support HD video calling. This means you will be able to do hands free voice or video calls with any you know with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App. While that’s all well and good, where it gets interesting is when you add Skype into the mix. In the very near future you will be able to ask Alexa to call someone on Skype and you will get through to them, wherever they use the platform.
“This new experience makes it even easier to connect with friends and family and we can’t wait for customers to try it out.”Gaurav Sareen, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft.
I’ve always thought this feature was quite handy because let’s face it we have all gone to the shop with a list in our heads and forgot the whole thing by the time we get to the place. Ah, but no more… now with the Echo Show you will be able to tell Alexa to re-order toothpaste, coffee or whatever you want and she will let you know when it’s on the way. You will also be able to create lists, just tell her what you need and never forget the milk again.
Browse the web
The Echo Show will also be integrated with Firefox, once open, you can use the on-screen keyboard to type a URL and visit your favourite website. And like other browsers, you can bookmark websites for easy access.
While there are already thousands of skills available on the new Echo Show there are some new and improved bits and pieces that are well worth a look. Find out what’s on TV, play tunes through Vivo or Amazon Music, view your shopping list or catch up on the news, all of these skills will have new visual aspects to get the best use from the Echo Show’s display and to improve the user experience.
How much and when can I get it?
Ok, so the Echo Show will set you back roughly €250 and you can order an accompanying stand that will allow you to tilt the Echo Show to adjust the viewing and camera angles for only €30. It could be a great Christmas gift. We are hoping to get our hands on one in the coming months for an up close and personal review, watch this space!