Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices, said its Echo products were part of a category of "ambient computing" devices that can be controlled in a communal setting, like inside a home or a auto, primarily with voice. Just recently, it was launched in the United Kingdom, and instead of only being available in its standard black version, customers now have a choice between a black or white Echo.
This new product comes at a time where Amazon is already showing its strength in the smart hub market. You can also dictate messages to your Alexa and the Alexa on the receiving end will read the message to the person you're trying to communicate with.
Last month the United States online giant began selling its Echo Look gadget, which includes the voice-activated assistant but with a camera, allowing Alexa to offer fashion advice. Amazon says it's bringing calling and messaging features to its existing Echo and Echo Dot devices and the Alexa app starting Tuesday. Messages can also be read within the Alexa app. Similarly, if you have a home security camera or two (Ring, Nest Cam), you can't monitor anything through a traditional Echo.
Just last week, we got our first glimpse at Amazon's touchscreen-enabled Echo they would soon announce. The biggest competitor in the market is Google Home.
If you use FaceTime, Skype or any other video conferencing platform, this is not a new idea, but it is a significant new front in Amazon's efforts to own home intelligence and connectivity.
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Because the Echo can be used only as a speakerphone, it also is not likely to be used for private calls when others are present in a room. Other companies have tried to make telephone-shaped video calling devices over the years (and any old iPad on a stand could achieve something similar to the Show if you trust Siri to do you bidding), but few have become so entwined with our lives as Amazon to necessitate buying the product for reasons beyond the video calling feature.
Initially exclusive to Prime subscribers, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) made the Echo available to all USA customers in June 2015.
Amazon is stepping up its digital assistant game.
Still, many have struggled to catch up to Amazon.
According to the publication, the screen is not just a regular screen, but a touchscreen that measures about 7 inches.