×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon Announces New Echo Show With Touch Screen, Introduces Alexa Calling

Amazon added another device to its family of Echo speakers Tuesday with the introduction of the Echo Show, a smart speaker with an integrated 7-inch touchscreen that will go on sale for $229.99 at the end of next month. The company also introduced a new voice and video calling service that connects existing Echo speakers with the new Echo Show and mobile devices.

The Echo Show is in many ways similar to the existing Echo. It features seven microphones to take voice commands from across the room, is integrated with music services like Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn and Amazon’s own Prime Music, and can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from reading the news or weather report to controlling smart lightbulbs and calling an Uber.

With the addition of the screen, Amazon is also adding support for videos from YouTube, Bloomberg, CNN and its own Prime Video service. The screen can also display photo slideshows, and give visual feedback to a range of other voice commands. Hulu and Netflix aren’t available on the device at this time, a spokesperson told Variety Tuesday. “But we’d love to have them create a skill for Echo Show,” he added.

But perhaps the biggest selling point is video calling. Amazon officially introduced a new voice and video calling service dubbed Alexa Calling Tuesday, which allows Echo Show owners to video call each other with simple voice commands.

Users can also set their device to automatically allow trusted contacts to “drop in,” which automatically launches the video feed of the caller on the receiving device as a kind of preview — similar to the “knock knock” feature that Google introduced with its Duo video calling app last year. And Amazon is adding video calling to its Alexa mobile app, so Android and iOS users can connect with Echo Show owners where ever they are.

What’s more, Amazon is also bringing audio calling to existing Echo and Echo Dot speakers with a firmware update. Alexa Calling is available on these existing devices effective immediately, allowing users to call each other other leave messages for another.

There’s no interconnection to the existing phone network yet — for now anyway. Amazon also didn’t reveal whether it will add Alexa Calling to other devices with Alexa integration, which include anything from TVs to fridges to car dashboards. But there’s some clear potential here for Amazon to use voice and video calling as a way to get consumers to embrace Alexa everywhere.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content