Amazon’s worst kept secret was confirmed today with the official reveal of their new Echo Show.
The new device is the latest addition to their Echo smart home assistant range, and will serve as a premium option with enhanced features. The most notable of these is a 7-inch touchscreen display, leaked earlier this week, and the ability to make video or audio calls to other Echo users or anyone with the Alexa smartphone app.
This includes retroactively updating their existing hardware with an update to the Alexa iOS and Android apps so that owners of previous models will enjoy the new function.
The Echo Show will also feature eight microphones, a 5MP forward facing camera and Dolby speakers, as well as beam-forming and noise cancelling technology so that Alexa can hear you across the room.
Whilst the introduction of a small tablet-like screen may not be entirely revolutionary, the idea of being able to video chat with friends or family on another device instantly simply by calling to Alexa is massively convenient. Amazon also suggested the technology could also be used in place of baby monitors or a front door video camera, as it communicates well with smart cameras such as Ring or Arlo.
The screen will also enhance the Echo’s existing features, so that when you ask Alexa for information such as the weather, a visual illustration will appear on the screen in addition to her forecast. This also extends to other information such as displaying music lyrics or your shopping list, and presumably a multitude of amusing self-aware comments such as, you know, the meaning of life. It’s 42 by the way, Douglas Adams would be proud.
The Echo Show will launch on 28th June in the US for $229 (roughly £180), with a $100 discount for a pack of two at $360, and is already available for pre-order for select countries. Unfortunately so far there are no confirmed dates for a UK release or price point.