Following the instructions by voice of a virtual assistant to cook a potato omelette or a chocolate cake can be a bit complicated. Amazon is aware of the importance of images to learn, among many other things, to cook. Therefore, the technology giant has launched this Wednesday in Spain Echo Show, its new device with a 10-inch HD screen. The user only has to pronounce the magic words: "Alexa, how do I make gazpacho?". Immediately afterwards the virtual assistant will guide you step by step with images so that you cook the recipe without touching the screen and that, never better said, you will be caught with your hands in the dough.
The screen is what sets this device apart from the company's smart speakers. Among other actions, it allows you to watch the news, make video calls or check who is at the door of the house thanks to a camera installed in the entrance. "Alexa, show me the front door," she asks virtual assistant Marta Morales, Alexa's Senior Product Manager in Spanish, at a presentation of the device to which several journalists have been invited on Tuesday. The Echo Show obeys and shows on the screen the entrance of the company's offices in Madrid.
The device, that costs 229.99 euros, It is already on sale in Spain and will begin to be sent to customers as of February 27. With the five megapixel camera, Amazon wants this device to offer more possibilities than a smart speaker. For example, to make video calls to family and friends. At the moment you can only contact those who have an Echo Spot, Echo Show or the Alexa app. But, according to the company, Skype calls can also be made soon.
Amazon wants to help the user to organize and make his life at home more comfortable. The Echo Show has an integrated digital home controller and allows, for example, to regulate the lights or the thermostat. Through the voice, it is also possible to program a kitchen timer and check on the screen how the countdown is going, review and manage the family calendar and see the list of tasks to do or purchase. In fact, the virtual assistant can also prevent you from going to the supermarket. For example, when saying the following: "Alexa, ask for coffee again". The device orders it, associates it with our account and the e-commerce giant takes care of the rest.
You can also ask Alexa to show photographs, movie times, movies or the best moments of television. When requesting this last order, the Echo Show shows, for example, one titled "Risto Mejide throws Arcadi Espada off the set. " Soon, customers will also have access to video clips through an integration with Vevo.
The device has eight microphones integrated in the upper part of the device. The company ensures that the Echo Show is able to hear the user from any direction even while music is playing. "If you connect it with several devices at home, you can make the person closest to you answer," explains Pedro García Franco, Country Manager for Alexa in Spain.
The challenge of guaranteeing privacy
It is not the first time Amazon integrates a screen into one of its smart devices. Some users having a microphone or a camera at home that they listen to and observe continuously generates distrust. Guaranteeing privacy is one of Amazon's main challenges. For this reason, the company has integrated in this device the mute button, which serves to "disconnect the microphone and the camera automatically".
Although the device is tactile, it is designed to be controlled entirely with the voice. Although you can touch the screen to choose a video, a product or a particular option from those shown on the screen, you can not ask the virtual assistant for a written order. "Our idea is to use it through the voice. It is not intended to replace a tablet, "says García Franco. Even so, the Echo Show has a built-in web browser that can be opened by saying "" Alexa, open Silk "or" Alexa, open Firefox ". Once in it, you can use the keyboard on the screen to search any web.