Amazon has announced a new home assistant to their Echo line up: the Echo Show.   The Echo Show is the first voice controlled assistant from Amazon with both a camera and full 7″ touchscreen.  For the first time, you will be able to make and receive video calls using your Echo. The addition of the screen also allows you to ask Alexa to display video flash briefings (Amazon news), YouTube clips, music lyrics, supported security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, lists and more all hands free.  The Echo Show will retail for $229 US and is available in black or white.

What About the Sound Quality?

Past Echo devices have been criticized for poor sound quality.  Amazon states that the Echo Show has “two room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response“.  It will be interesting to see how they sound in real life when the unit starts being shipped on June 28th 2017. The Echo Show ups the ante from the seven microphones included in the original Echo by adding an eighth microphone with beam forming technology and noise cancellation to help pick up voice commands from any direction and across the room. The Echo Show supports the existing Alexa skills ecosystem that is growing exponentially.  With over 10,000 skills already available, there are lots of options for smart home controls including popular kit from Ring, Philips Hue, SmartThings, ecobee, Wink and others.

Echo Show Integration with other Echo Devices

Another smart move is that the Echo Show doesn’t make your existing investment in other Alexa-enabled devices or Echo speakers obsolete.  The devices work together and by adding more devices you extend the range and can add the right type of Alexa tool for each space.  It would be nice to see the ability to play the same audio back from multiple speakers as the Google Home can. The Echo Show is an interesting addition to an already hot market segment for Amazon.  Continuing to innovate and add features shows Amazon’s commitment to maintain the lead they have but also to keep innovating and pushing competitors.

What’s Next For Echo?

There is a lot of speculation but if you haven’t already seen it check out the great Saturday Night Live spoof  for the Amazon Echo Silver – made for the greatest generation. It’s only funny because it’s true! So who knows – maybe SNL has predicted the future?  Let us know your thoughts!