Amazon unveils Echo Show, a $230 speaker that does video calls

Amazon on Tuesday unveiled Echo Show, an addition to its Echo speaker line, that enables video calls.

The $230 device is scheduled to ship June 28, according to a page on the tech titan’s site.

Seattle-based Amazon said the device is based on its Alexa technology. Alexa is an artificial-intelligence-powered personal assistant that was developed by Lab126, an Amazon unit that recently opened an office in downtown San Jose.

“Now Alexa can show you things,” the online retailing behemoth said on its site. “Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.

“Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot,” the digital powerhouse said.

The new Echo Show device signals the possibility that Amazon may push into a new area of services, although with a weight of about 40 ounces, it is considerably more bulky than a typical mobile phone.

Nevertheless, the calls and messaging are potentially major features of Echo Show.

The Echo Show device also offers an array of music-related features.

“See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio,” the company stated.

The device will include capabilities that tie into the Internet of Things, although these functions will require smart-home devices that are compatible with Amazon.

“Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo,” Amazon said. “Turn on lights, control thermostats and more.”

 

Photo: Amazon’s new Echo Show device. (Associated Press)

 

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