“Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you,” Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch. “Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.”
“One of the main selling points is that you can use the Echo Show to make and take video calls,” Lunden reports. “The device, which comes in black and white versions, will cost $229.99 and will be shipped from June 28, with preorders available now. It appears that it will be available first in the U.S. only.”
“The Echo has resonated with consumers and has been a runaway hit for Amazon. eMarketer estimates that the company will control 70 percent of the voice-controlled speaker market this year,” Lunden reports. “[Echo Show introduces] computer vision, including a camera to expand the kinds of functionality and responses provided by the Echo.”
“Of course, there are many ways that a camera could be used — and not all of them innocuous — so perhaps unsurprisingly Amazon has chosen to market the Look for some of the lighter applications. In this case, the aim with the Look is to own it as a ‘hands-free camera and style assistant,'” Lunden reports. “You keep the device in your bedroom or dressing room, and use the camera to take selfies. Alexa then ‘reads’ these selfies and gives you ideas on what to wear — and likely what to buy, given Amazon’s large ambitions in the fashion/apparel space.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: To paraphrase Alan Kay:
Now, just make the screen at least 50-inches and you’ll rule the world.
Hopefully, Apple has something in the wings because they’re looking increasingly outmatched and visionless (pun intended) here. Apple could, and already should, have such devices on the market with Apple’s unmatched SECURITY and PRIVACY among their main selling points.
That Apple TV still cannot do FaceTime calls is not only inexplicable, it tells you just about all you need to know about the pace at which Tim Cook’s Apple moves. In blatantly obvious paths, glaciers move faster.
And, don’t say, “oh, but security.” Make a camera lens that physically closes with a cover that is plainly visible to users as closed. It ain’t rocket science. Do the opening and closing lens cover vertically and it might also make for some cool ads with winking Apple TVs and attendant emoji 😉 .
Something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.
There could be a psychological component to this that leads people use Alexa over Siri precisely because they know the Echo is there (it’s a physical object), but forget about Siri being everywhere, even on their wrists (because Siri is embedded inside devices that are “for other things” in the user’s mind (telling time, watching TV, computing, phone calls, etc.) and therefore “hidden” to the user. Hence, Siri gets forgotten and goes unused while people use Alexa…
Again: We believe people use Alexa because Amazon Echo is a physical manifestation of “her,” while forgetting about Siri even though she’s on their wrists at all times and/or in their iPhones and iPads because Siri is hidden inside objects whose primary function is something other than “personal assistant” in people’s minds (watch, TV, phone or tablet, as opposed to “Siri.”) Alexa is present thanks to the Amazon Echo. Siri is absent because she has no such counterpart; no physical manifestation.
Siri is a ghost. Alexa is that cool, fun, glowing tube right there on the counter.
Apple would do well to not discount the psychology behind why people use certain features, even though cold, hard logic tells them it’s a redundant and unnecessary product.
An “Apple Echo” device would sell in the millions of units per quarter and boost Siri usage immensely.
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Apple preps Amazon Echo rival, opening up Siri – May 24, 2016
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Google unveils its Amazon Echo knockoff called ‘Google Home’ – May 18, 2016
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