Amazon’s new Echo Show is Alexa with a screen

Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.

The device’s potentially biggest feature — the calls and messaging — also herald’s Amazon’s move into a key, new area of services. Alexa Calling, as the feature is named, will also work on other Echo devices, and the Alexa app.

Firstly, it’s US only at launch. Then, even after it hits the shores of the EU, it likely wont ship to Australia as none of the Echo products do at the moment. I don’t think we’ll see that until Amazon officially open their warehouses here.

The Echo Show’s “biggest” feature, calls and messaging, might not be as great as you think it might be Amazon. Imagine having a 1.1kg tablet that makes video calls but is too heavy and cumbersome to move around the house with. Instead you’re tethered to a fixed point like a land line from the 80s. Yes you could use the Alexa app on your phone and move around that way but the last thing I want is yet another messaging app to deal with.

Beyond calls the screen allows you to view lyrics while playing music from Amazon Music (yay?), show security camera streams (Arlo & Ring), view Youtube via a cumbersome audio feed and get your news headlines as a clip show.

Some are calling this proof of the smart home entering the mainstream. I’m unconvinced, almost feels like a step backwards to me.

Source: Amazon unveils the $230 Echo Show, with a screen for calls, shipping June 28 | TechCrunch