I'm fairly embedded in the Alexa ecosystem. There's a full-sized Echo in my living room, an Echo Dot in my bedroom, and the Alexa-enabled Triby sits on my fridge in the kitchen. I don't use Alexa for anything particularly special, mostly just music/podcasts and smart light control and the occasional timer. There's a lot more I could do with Alexa, but I often find the experience limiting without a display to accompany the sound.
I currently have a tablet mounted in my kitchen to resolve this issue, but I'm hoping the new Echo Show from Amazon will replace that separate piece of hardware. Here's what really pushed me to pre-order as soon as it was announced.
See on Amazon (opens in new tab)
I want voice-controlled recipes
I do most of the cooking in my house, and frequently rely on recipe apps when trying something new. Alexa already has a bunch of different recipe skills, but they're all voice-based and I need something visual. I need to be able to glance at an ingredient list, and I'd prefer to be able to do this with just my voice because sometimes a recipe involves me getting my hands covered in whatever I'm cooking.
Amazon and its partners being able to deliver a totally voice driven recipe experience with results and details on a display so I can quickly glance would be a big deal for me. It seems like all of the pieces are there for this to work, so I'm hoping this becomes a game changer for me in the kitchen.
I can see my connected cameras
If the FedEx guy is dropping something off and I don't need to sign for it, or if there's a marketer at the door trying to sell me something, I can check the Ring app from my phone and never actually need to leave my office. The only way that experience could be improved is by not needing to interrupt my current task by grabbing my phone and touching the display.
Being able to glance at the Echo Show, see who is at the door, and react without my fingers leaving the keyboard is going to be amazing. Knowing Amazon supports Ring (opens in new tab), Arlo (opens in new tab), and other connected cameras out of the box is a big selling point for me.
I want Echo-level audio quality in a tablet
One of the big things I do with my kitchen tablet when I'm not using it for a recipe is streaming video. I like being able to catch up on the shows no one else in the house watches while I cook, but even the loudest tablet speakers struggle to keep up with the roar of a frying pan and a blender and a microwave all at once.
Amazon has proven itself capable of designing room-filling speakers with the Echo, and the Echo Show is promising the same kind of experience. Echo Show currently only supports YouTube streaming, but as more apps become available it's likely this will become a critical streaming accessory in my house.
Simplified video chat could be cool
I have no shortage of video chat apps, but my kids usually need to come to me in order to call the grandparents or my sister in Hawaii. If I can convince my sister to pick up one of these as well, the kids will be able to video chat whenever they want (within reason) and I won't need to stop what I'm doing or hand over my phone to facilitate this conversation.
My kids are already big Echo users, so I see this being a feature frequently used by the younger members of my household. Who knows, I may decide it's a better video chat solution and use it occasionally as well.
The price is more than reasonable
I was happy to pay $200 for the original Amazon Echo, so I have zero problems paying $30 more for a significant boost in features. The $230 price tag (opens in new tab) is cheaper than any tablet I'd want to use around the house for these same things, offers way better audio, and because I'm already an Echo user will require very little setup on my end.
I probably would have purchased another Echo Dot had I really been looking to expand my Alexa connectivity throughout the house, but streamlining my kitchen tech and offering some new features along the way is enough to push me to ensure I'll be opening my own Echo Show on launch day.
See on Amazon (opens in new tab)
Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter
Waiting to see what Google will do next
They said that in the IO yesterday, you mean hardware wise?
Reason I'll probably cancel the impulse Amazon show pre-order 1. Don't care about the screen when I have so many of them lying around in the house. But probably doesn't hurt having it I guess.
2. Google services baked into Google home provides more value to me.
3. Trust Google to provide and integrate into various services better than Amazon.
4. Loved what Google showed with the Google home at IO.
Those are all excellent points, and I agree with most of them.
Agreed! And even though the video calling would be nice, the battle to get anyone I know to shell out for their own Echo Show just so they could "skype" me is not one that I would ever win.
Video calling doesn't really appeal to me on a device like this, I'd much rather just use my phone for video calling. In my opinion, the only thing the Show would be good for is in the kitchen to display recipes. For every other room in my house having a small stationary display would be useless for me the vast majority of the time... Again I would just rather pull out my phone to me to see the info than have to go over to the Show to see it.
exactly.. all i need to buy is a phone stand and use it for video calls
This is a tough decision for me. I want the home because it hooks into my Google ecosystem well. But, I want an echo because of voice purchasing with Amazon, being able to listen to my audio books, and I love the screen idea, especially for recipes. Luckily, I'm still probably 12 months out before I make a purchase decision, but I feel like the decision is only going to get harder.
Why not just get both... If you want the Echo for purchases then get a Dot or two for that then get homes for everything else.
Yeah i put this on my wishlist but i want to see googles answer
At Google I/O their answers to this (for now) is the ability to show responses on either your phone or a Google Cast enabled device, like a chromecast.
It will be interesting to see which method ends up being better overall... I can see some instances where googles approach is better (passing off directions to your phone) but I have a feeling in most cases inside the home the dedicated screen on the echo will prove to be superior. Relying on casting will get messy very quickly with the many screens people have these days and trying to determine which one is "best". IMO The simplicity and reliability of the dedicated screen will prove to be the better method and I expect google will add one with their next hardware iteration.
Google also mentioned that they are now offering the SDK for the Assistant so other manufacturers create devices with the Assistant... so if Google doesn't create a device like the Show, there's a good chance a 3rd manufacturer might make something similar.
I just can't see this as a tablet replacement when you're going to wind up tethered to a wall socket.
It isn't a tablet replacement. It is a smart speaker with a display, closer to a souped up "under cabinet" TV than a computing device. Tablets expect touch interface, show is primarily voice controlled.
Tablets make horrible counter-mounted objects because they are too wobbly even on stands. Show is stable and angled for use by someone looking down at it on a table.
Tablets have minimal internal space for speakers or resonance so sounds are flat. Show has a body with depth that will provide better sound.
Tablets usually have at most 2 mics, Show will have 8.
Show is always on, tablets innately want to sleep to preserve battery.
Tablets are mobile, show is intended to be a permanent addition to your home like a lamp, preferably with an echo (dot/tap/show/look) in every room. So the use cases are completely different. Show is closer to a tech appliance, like a toaster, than a computing device.
I wish Amazon would play nice with Google. I would use their services more if I could do things like stream their shows via Chromecast or Android TV. Why they are passing up on me paying them money for movie rentals, music, etc. is beyond me. I do have an Echo and 1st gen Echo Dot. But I also now have a Google Home, Chromecast, Nexus Player, and Android Auto in my car. None of Amazon's software works on any of these devices which is really too bad. Amazon should wake up and smell the coffee. Google is much better at seeing opportunity and making their stuff available elsewhere like on iOS. If Amazon let them make stuff to put on Amazon hardware, you'd see Google software on them too. But they are not allowed. However, Google isn't stopping Amazon from making their apps Chromecast ready or Android Auto ready. They just choose not to. So all my services are with Google and I pay them instead.
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