Calling and messaging features coming to Echo, Echo Dot, Alexa app
Amazon has officially announced the Echo Show, a new version of its Echo speaker that features a seven-inch touchscreen and voice assistant Alexa. It’s available in the US for $230 It’s also available in the UK for £220 and Germany for €240.
Amazon is giving its voice-enabled Echo speaker a touch screen and video-calling capabilities as it competes with Google’s efforts at bringing “smarts” to the home.
The market for voice-assisted speakers is small but growing. Research firm eMarketer expects usage of the speakers to more than double, with nearly 36 million Americans using such a device at least once a month by year’s end.
The Echo Show is powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, and features support for 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz wi-fi, as well as an as yet unspecified version of Bluetooth. No OS is specified either, but it’s likely to be some form of Amazon’s Android-based Fire OS, which is used across its range of Fire tablets.
Amazon’s Echo is expected to continue its dominance, with a share of nearly 71 percent, though eMarketer expects Google’s Home speaker to cut into that share in the coming years.
Amazon says it’s also bringing calling and messaging features to its existing Echo and Echo Dot devices and the Alexa app for phones.