Amazon’s 'Echo Show' Brings Video to the Voice-first Experience

Sarah Berger


Amazon just released the latest model of its expanding conversational products in the Echo family, the Echo Show. Available for pre-order here (and already hitting #1 in Amazon’s best-selling electronics list), the Echo Show is a first of its kind device for Amazon. With a seven-inch touch screen and built-in video camera, the Echo Show allows users to place a video or voice call over Wi-Fi and interact with Alexa in a new way, visually.

Though the Echo Show isn’t necessarily a new concept in its entirety, it is a big move for Amazon. By entering this crowded landscape of internet communications, Amazon is making an attempt to make Echo and Alexa an essential fixture of consumers’ homes. From simple tasks like setting calendar appointments and making video phone calls, to more advanced instances like controlling your smart home, the Echo Show is changing the way we will think about Alexa.

As a virtual assistant, Alexa no longer can only be interacted with through the means of voice but also through visuals and touch. While Amazon still favors their model of a voice-first experience, the truth is that there may be limitations to what you can do when relying entirely on a voice interface. The Echo Show intends to address this by opening up tools for developers to add visual components.

As Dave Limp, Amazon’s Senior Vice President for Devices, previously said, “You shouldn’t be compelled to go and interact with the screen — you should be able to do it with your voice.” He continues, "We're not trying to build a phone or tablet interface on this, but extend that ambient nature of what you already have with an Echo."

Along with this recent announcement, Amazon released a software update that allows current Echo devices to place voice-calls. For now, this is limited to only Echo users or anyone with an Alexa app on their smartphone, but only time will tell until this feature opens up beyond the Amazon ecosystem.

While Amazon declines to comment on the number of devices that have been sold, according to eMarketer, the tech-giant has grabbed 70% of the U.S. market for voice-assisted speakers. In addition, the company has stated it currently supports 12,000 Alexa Skills - all of which will be supported on the Echo Show.

Businesses of all sizes need to take note of the Echo Show and anticipate their consumer’s expectations and needs of tomorrow, because Amazon and Alexa are day-by-day gaining momentum on becoming the omnipresent, personal computing system of the future.

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To learn more about the Echo Show, watch the video below: