Amazon has unveiled a new version of its Echo speaker and Alexa intelligent assistant that has a touchscreen and video calling. The voice-controlled Echo Show has a tablet-style screen from which users can make video or audio calls, control smart home devices and shop online.
It has been designed as “a new way to be together”, Amazon said, as it lets users “talk to family and friends who have an Echo or the Alexa App”. The Echo Show operates like the current Amazon Echo and Dot speakers, which use the Alexa virtual assistant to answer questions or perform voice-activated tasks. In addition to the speakers, it has a 7-inch touch screen, 5MP forward facing camera and Dolby speakers. It can make video calls to designated contacts, as well as playing content from YouTube and other apps.
The calling feature lets users contact friends or family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa app on their phone by asking Alexa to “Drop In” on them. Video callers will initially only see a frosted glass picture, which turns into a full video call if accepted. The touchscreen also allows users to send text messages and make audio only calls to users of other Amazon Echo devices.
Amazon suggested the Echo Show could also be used to replace security technology such as baby monitors and front door video cameras.
The Amazon Show will be available on June 28 and will go on sale for $229.
– 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.
– Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
– See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
– Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
– Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
– With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
– Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more