Echo Show: 10 New Updates to Amazon Echo
The Echo Show
Amazon's next generation Echo is here, and it's called the Echo Show.
This Echo hybrid will give Alexa a brand new set of capabilities and upgrades that'll transform the breakout gadget launched over two years ago.
But should you buy the next Echo product and what 10 new features will make it worth the $230 price tag.
10. Video Calling
Amazon Alexa Meets Skype
The biggest selling point of the Echo Show will be its ability to make video calls similar to Skype.
You'll be able to call any Echo Show device and video chat with them, which could be a great way to interact with friends and family members.
Additionally there will be a feature called "drop-in" where you can drop in on someone to see how they're doing. It could be an excellent way to check on young children or the elderly who need help/care the most.
But if privacy is an issue, you can disable that feature or put it on do-not-disturb mode.
The video calling feature may be overplayed but if the Echo Show is a hit, then it may reinvigorate landline phones with a revamped version of an old-school product.
9. The Touchscreen
How will adding a touchscreen to the Echo make it a better voice assistant?
Because it'll be able to show you things that the Echo couldn't including detailed weather/traffic reports and games that require visuals.
You'll also be able to see things like song lyrics and recipes that could make the Echo Show an ideal product for your kitchen.
The Echo Show's 7" touchscreen could perfectly blend a tablet, a Bluetooth speaker, and Alexa into a much more useful product than we could've imagined two years ago.
8. Fixes Connectivity Issues
Better Internet Connectivity
The original Amazon Echo had a lot of connection problems even when paired with the best routers and extenders on the market.
The setup was also tedious and should have been made simpler. In order for the Echo to evolve, it needs to rely less on the Alexa app and more on its voice interface.
Echo Show will fix connectivity problems and make it faster/easier to connect to your home network.
You won't have to worry about a song cutting out or having Alexa drop your connection.
Furthermore there should be less reliance on the app after the initial home network setup, which could help streamline the experience without creating headaches for consumers.
7. Better Smart Home Integration
Boost Smart Home Use
Smart home devices are presently going through an awkward stage where people are curious about them but not a lot of consumers are buying them.
The Amazon Echo made it less problematic by helping to make sense of smart home products, but that didn't come without complications.
Alexa's connection issues carried over to smart hubs and devices, which frequently lost communication with the smart home speaker.
With the Echo Show's improved connectivity, we'll witness better smart home integration that could boost interest in the internet of things.
Nobody wants to spend hours fiddling with these expensive gadgets. The experience needs to become seamless otherwise the smart home market will suffer.
6. Better Audio Quality
Better Audio Quality
The Amazon Echo is classified as a smart speaker, but many Echo users prefer having other speakers.
Why is that?
Because the sound quality of the Echo is mediocre compared to proven brands like Bose or Sonos. This may not matter to most consumers, but audiophiles would be overjoyed if the Echo could improve its speaker quality.
The Echo Show will have 8 microphones and an upgraded speaker to produce richer sounds.
The updates should also help Alexa respond better in noisy environments and make it less likely that you'll need to shout the wake word to get started.
5. Simple Design
A black or white cylindrical speaker looks pretty but it stands out too much sometimes.
Technology works best when it's able to blend into your environment, and a simple design would allow customers to focus on the functionality rather than aesthetics.
Just look at Google Glass and its in-your-face design or today's virtual reality headsets. You can't help but notice those products yet a basic looking product like the Echo Show should blend into your home.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home are fine for what they are but they're definitely hard to ignore, and smart assistants need to focus more on helping rather than trying to impress you.
4. Fixes Syncing Problems
No More Delays
Echo Show promises to fix syncing problems between your smart speaker and the router.
Many present routers are not familiar with smart devices like the Echo, so it's up to Amazon to help bring them together.
They also need to be aware of how the router's firmware updates might interfere with the Echo so that interaction with Alexa doesn't lag.
Future routers will be programmed to better handle smart products, but right now it'll be up to Amazon to bring their smart speakers up to speed.
3. Amazon Alexa Upgrades
Enhancing Alexa Voice Services
Alexa doesn't sound too bad, but a few tweaks wouldn't hurt.
The cloud based Alexa Voice Services should see a lot more improvements with their natural voice capabilities.
New software upgrade will produce a natural and more accurate Alexa with human-like speech tones added into the mix.
That would be fantastic because often Alexa doesn't understand how to pronounce certain words, accents, or dialects.
This update could also set the stage for additional language support that would allow Amazon to internationally market their smart speakers.
Also Amazon needs to further their devices' language skills to catch up to Google otherwise they're going to lose the battle with buyers.
2. Watch YouTube and Amazon Video
On Demand Videos
Alexa wants to challenge Google Home's ability to cast videos using the Echo Show's signature touchscreen.
How nice would it be to instantly pull up any YouTube video or stream Amazon Video without lifting a finger.
This will not only enhance functionality further but it'll make the Echo Show a far better entertainer than the first generation Amazon Echo. The only catch is that it will be on a 7" touchscreen, which is not ideal when viewing movies.
I'm hoping we eventually see a product that'll let you cast onto your big screen TV using the Echo Show similar to Google's Chromecast. Amazon already has the Fire Stick, which could be tweaked to allow for casting from your smart speakers.
Yes it may be copying Google yet that's one product the Google Home has in its arsenal that gives it an edge in the entertainment space, but Amazon isn't too far behind.
1. Wi-Fi Security Camera
Personal Security Assistant
The Echo Show will not only be used to voice call people but it can act as your personal security assistant.
Due to its Wi-Fi capabilities, the Echo can toggle other Wi-Fi cameras onto its network so that you can always see what's going on in your home.
I can also see Amazon expanding on the Echo's drop-in feature to double as a security platform if you need to take a quick look inside your home when away.
One of the most successful smart home gadgets is the security camera and the Echo Show could provide additional security without the need to purchase separate equipment.
The more interoperability a product can achieve, the more consumers may jump aboard.