Seattle-based Amazon has released its latest Echo Show devices: the new Echo Show 8, Echo Show 5 and the first Echo Show 5 Kids. In a press release on Wednesday (May 12), the company said the new Echo Show devices offer “more powerful cameras for better video calling” and new Alexa features.
Customers use Echo Show “to stay in touch — and in the past year have made nearly three times the number of video calls than the year prior,” said Tom Taylor, senior vice president for Amazon Alexa, adding that the upgraded models add new augmented reality (AR) effects to make video calls more fun and engaging.
In December, Amazon made good on its previously announced plan to allow group audio- and video-conference calls on its Echo devices. The new service could become a direct competitor to Zoom and Microsoft Teams, enabling calls for relatively small groups of people. Zoom and Teams can serve much larger groups of callers.
In the market for smart speakers, Amazon is the leader. About 70 percent of the people in the U.S. who use smart speakers are using an Amazon Echo, according to an eMarketer report. Rivals for that market include Google, Apple and Sonos.
According to Amazon’s Wednesday release, the Echo Show 8’s “upgraded camera automatically pans and zooms while you’re on video calls, so everyone stays centered in the frame.” The new device offers the choice to ask Alexa to make a video call or say, “Alexa, call my family” to join a group call.
The cost for the Echo Show 8, which has an 8-inch HD display with “adaptive color,” is $129.99. The Echo Show 5, with a 5.5-inch HD display, goes for $84.99 and offers an upgraded camera.
The new Echo Show 5 Kids can place video calls to pre-approved contacts. The $94.99 price tag includes a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+. The company said the product comes with a two-year guarantee: “If it breaks, return it and Amazon will replace it for free.”
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