Amazon will launch a new Echo Show product with a display that follows users around the room, so that they can keep watching shows and remain in frame for video calls. The screen may be relatively small, but it looks like something out of science fiction. As well as supporting Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, it will keep an eye on your home while you are out, unless privacy mode is engaged.
Priced at $249.99, the Echo Show 10 is described as a complete reimagination of Alexa. It features a 10-inch high-definition rotating screen that automatically stays in view when users interact with the Alexa voice control service.
If users ask Alexa to make a video call, the screen and the 13-megapixel camera will pan and zoom to keep them at the centre of the frame, wherever they are in the room. As the screen moves, so does its loudspeakers, providing directional sound that adapts to the viewing position of the user.
It supports Amazon Prime Video, obviously, but will also offer Hulu + Live television and Netflix shows. Users will be able to search, browse, and view the entire Netflix catalogue using their voice. It will also support voice activated Zoom and Amazon Chime video conferencing.
“These are the best Echo devices we have ever made,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “Echo Show 10 completely reimagines Alexa with a screen — the display moves with you, staying in view as you move around. It’s as natural as having a conversation.”
Barry Smith, the partner engagement manager at Netflix, said it was a way of improving the experience for its members. “We’re excited to partner with Amazon on bringing the Netflix experience that people know and love to Echo Show, making it easier for our members to browse their favourite shows and films using their voice.”
The Alexa Guard function will also periodically pan the room and using computer vision algorithms to send an alert if it detects someone in the field of view. Users can also securely access a live fee remotely and pan or zoom across the room.
In case that all sounds rather creepy, there is also a privacy mode, which can be engaged by sliding a built-in shutter, changing settings remotely, or asking Alexa to “turn off motion’, clearly something that would never occur to potential intruders.