Amazon today unveiled the latest device in its Echo lineup: a touchscreen / speaker hybrid called the Echo Show.
Like other Echo products, the Show has the same suite of basic Alexa-powered functionalities — including playing music, asking questions, getting traffic information, etc. The device’s 7-inch touchscreen display offers plenty of new features, however. For example, when asking for the local weather, a user can view the full report visually. The Show can also display videos, such as YouTube and Amazon content, as well as news briefings. It can also be connected to security cameras, allowing users to easily view feeds via voice commands.
The device is tailor-made to work with Amazon’s proprietary services, too. The Show can function as a digital photo frame, pulling up pictures stored in the Prime Photo cloud. When playing a song through Amazon Music, the Show will display lyrics on-screen. The feature that makes the Show standout among the Echo lineup is the potential for video and voice calls over a Wi-Fi connection. With the Alexa app installed, users can make video calls to each other with a Skype-like service (although there currently isn’t support for Skype itself).
With this video calling functionality comes a new feature that Amazon is calling “Drop In.” Basically, friends and family can call you on your Echo Show at any time — and you’ll have 10 seconds to either reject or switch a call to audio-only. Additionally, Amazon also said that it will soon release a software update that’ll allow for other, non-screened Echo devices to make voice calls.
The Amazon Echo Show is now available to preorder for $229.99 — and Amazon is currently hosting a promotion where customers can buy two for $360. The device is slated to start shipping on June 28. See it in action in the video below.