You probably know what company I'm talking about: Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).
All Alexa needed was a screen, and now you have it. Amazon recently unveiled the Amazon Echo Show, which comes with the capability to play YouTube videos, and display photos, camera feeds and messages on its 7-inch touchscreen.
Amazon Echo Dot in March 2016.
Amazon has priced the Echo Show at $229.99.
Well, the Amazon Echo had a good run as an ad-free platform - and all good things, as they say, must come to an end. The said price point is not bad considering that the first Amazon Echo speaker was introduced at $180. Check out the amusing ad for the "Amazon Echo Silver" by clicking the video at the top of the story. There's even a Drop In feature that lets you mark trusted contacts, and their video calls will automatically be accepted and put through within 10 seconds if you don't decline or opt for audio only.
So here's the thing - the calling feature cannot be enabled for your selective contacts.
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When you really want to call someone using Alexa Calling, it's easy to do from the app.
To make matters worse, it's surprisingly hard to disable Alexa calling once you've enabled it.
The survey by research firm eMarketer found Amazon's Echo speakers held 70.6% of the USA market, compared with 23.8% for Google Home and 5.6% for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.
While it is a touchscreen, the idea seems to be more about having hands-free as a key component, rather than this simply being a weird way to start with a speaker and wind up with a tablet computer. Microsoft's own version was only released this week, while Apple has no timetable for their release.
This week, Microsoft announced that it's on its way to catching up with Amazon.
For those unfamiliar with what the Amazon Echo does, it's essentially an internet-connected speaker and personal assistant. However, as CNET also reported, the program seems to exist outside the boundaries of some of the guidelines for Alexa skills, but there are some caveats it can take advantage of. And in addition to controlling lights and various other smart devices, now you can pull up a video camera feed from elsewhere in your home. But of course, the product has to be entertaining, engaging, and useful. The device might also hit the market in early June.
On the other hand, Google Home doesn't have a screen or video calling.