how an amazon echo works

how an amazon echo works

Amazon echo works

Amazon echo works – When the Amazon Echo Show launched last June, it became the first Alexa speaker to feature a screen – but it wasn’t the best looking, nor did it offer the friendliest integrations.

As part of its 2018 refresh, though, Amazon has now announced a second generation Show, launching on 11 October in the US and UK, that brings an all-new design and an ability to act as a Zigbee smart home hub.

We’ll dive into all the details below, but the basic advantages of the Show over standard speakers is obvious. With a screen, the Amazon Echo Show can do things the other Echo devices can’t. All of a sudden, you don’t have to just listen to Alexa’s responses, you can see them. And the ecosystem of visual Amazon Echo Show Skills is growing by the week.

Echo Show?

how an amazon echo works

how an amazon echo works

The Echo Show, as we say, is essentially an Echo with a touchscreen display. The new 10-inch display fundamentally changes the look of the device, and is greatly improved from the 7-inch screen present in the boxy first generation. Things are still angled upward, but a new fabric design helps integrate it with the rest of the Echo range and a new interface makes it much easier to navigate.

Gone is the giant speaker that sat below the display and boomed out Alexa’s voice, with the new design instead hiding the Dolby dual 2-inch drivers and a passive bass radiator behind the fabric on the rear. Only time will tell if this proves to be more effective at helping sound be delivered in all directions, instead of the one direction found in the first iteration. With eight microphones onboard, too, we’re hoping that voice recognition is also more consistent.

Something that remains, however, is the small front-facing camera. This can be used to take pictures if you so wish, but the killer feature here is video calls, which brings a visual dimension to Alexa calling and Skype calls, which we’ll come onto below.

You also don’t exactly need an Echo Show to have an Echo Show. Amazon’s Fire Tablets are now updated with something called Show Mode, which essentially turns your Fire Tablet into an Echo Show. There’s even a Show Mode Charging Dock that’ll hold your tablet up for you while you scroll across its UI and shout commands.

Video calling work?

The Echo Show has both a display and a front-facing camera, and that means that it can be used to video call people. Specifically, it allows you to video call people with either an Echo Show or the Alexa app on their phone. You can either initiate a call by asking Alexa to call someone (“Alexa, call dad”), or you can ask it to answer or decline an incoming video call.

how an amazon echo works

how an amazon echo works

Speaking of incoming calls, the Echo Show has another feature called Drop In, which is intended for you to use with your closest family and friends – the kind of people you’d give a copy of your house keys to, y’know? That’s because Drop In is essentially a digital version of that. When you ask Alexa to Drop In on someone, it’ll let you immediately start chatting with them. However, there are 10 seconds of translucent fog before the video pops in, so you won’t catch them completely off guard.

Drop In is disabled by default, and you have to choose who – if anyone – you want to be able to drop in on you. If you have multiple Echo Show devices, you can also choose which ones are allowed to be dropped in on and which aren’t.

Through the new generation, calling through Alexa can also be handled by Skype, which opens up video calls to those who don’t have a Show, Spot or the Alexa app downloaded. This will be landing later this year, Amazon say.

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