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Amazon Adds Touchscreen And Video Calling To Echo

Amazon has announced a new smart speaker called the Echo Show, which combines its Alexa voice assistant with a 7-inch touch screen and video calling capabilities.

Following a number of leaks earlier in the week, Amazon officially announced the new device that enables greater functionality and abilities thanks to its built-in touchscreen, which can stream video content from CNN, YouTube and other sources, and display things like weather forecasts and shopping lists.

Amazon’s own services will also feature prominently, including streaming shows and movies through Amazon Video and displaying lyrics to songs played through Amazon Music.

Video calls can be made to anyone with another Echo Show or through the Alexa App, and standard voice calling is supported on other Echo devices. A new feature called ‘Drop In’ can also be enabled to automatically answer calls from select contacts.

The Echo Show can also display live streams from Netgear’s Arlo range as well as Ring cameras using voice controls, and a range of smart home devices from companies like WeMo, Philips Hue and ecobee are also supported.

The device will potentially play a significant role in Amazon’s dominance of the smart speaker market this year, with the company expected to account for over 70% of all smart speakers in the US in 2017. Once the company launches in Australia, Amazon is also expected to make a significant contribution to the 311 million smart home devices in the country by 2021.

While the Echo Show will retail for US$229.99 ($313), Amazon is pushing the device’s communication capabilities by offering US$100 off when two or more are bought together. The Echo Show will be available from June 28 in the US.

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