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Amazon Unveils New Echo Show w/ 7-inch Touchscreen for $229.99

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Just last week, we got our first glimpse at Amazon’s touchscreen-enabled Echo they would soon announce. Now four days later, the company has made the Echo Show official. And yes, it’s as ugly as you thought it would be.

 

Amazon Echo Show

Look at this thing.

Now mind you, I can’t exactly think of any other way Amazon could’ve strapped a 7-inch touchscreen to an Echo, but this design probably could’ve been refined a bit before it went live. Regardless, it looks good enough to sit on your countertop or in your kitchen to get your daily briefing.

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Before we get ahead of ourselves, the Echo Show is literally an Echo with a touchscreen. It enables native support for what the Amazon Fire tablet was recently enabled to do: show relevant information based on users’ inquiries. But this time around, things get stepped up a bit. For instance, if you ask Alexa to play a song via Amazon Music, the Echo Show will display lyrics so you can follow along. If you would rather watch your daily briefing over listening to it, just ask for your video daily briefing. Heck, there’s even video chats enabled for this guy.

You can also view a slideshow of photos, your calendar, a weather report, or full-fledged recipes via the Echo Show. Amazon also made sure to connect the device with the rest of your smart home, therefore, for instance, adding the ability to view who’s at your front door via Wi-Fi-enabled cameras or to check on your baby in the nursery via a security cam. You can now also make and place video and voice calls from all Echo devices, but this deserves to be explained in greater detail…

See, in order to make and place these video/voice calls, your interested contactee will need an Echo or Echo Show for themselves. Either that or they’ll need the Alexa app on their iOS or Android device. Therefore, these calls won’t go through Skype, FaceTime, or even your standard number. They’re directly based on Amazon’s servers and connections.

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Some uniqueness to this feature is one function called “Drop In.” Basically, your contacts can start up a video call on their Echo Show and your camera and microphone on your device will automatically turn on. This is obviously a huge privacy violation, so Amazon is promoting this feature as something you use on occasions like checking in with an elderly relative or friend.

In addition, voice messaging is also being announced today as an alternative way to communicate with someone. All you do is tell Alexa you’d like to message someone and record your voice. The recipient will then receive the message be prompted to reply. I don’t exactly know how useful this feature will be, but hey, it’s there.

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As for Echo Show specifics, Amazon is using an array of eight microphones and two Dolby-powered speakers for audio input and output. As aforementioned, the Echo Show features a 7-inch display, although the resolution isn’t known. Amazon says the device will begin shipping June 28th for the price of $229.99. The voice and video calling features should be rolled out to everyone by this date as well.


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