Today, Amazon announced the next generation of its flagship Echo Show, and it’s much smarter than any smart display the company has produced thus far.
The Echo Show 15 is meant to be the “digital heart of your home,” Amazon says, and, to that effect, it’s capable of multitasking, playing full HD streaming videos, and — for some reason — identifying random sounds in your house.
The Echo Show 15 is a do-everything device. It’s a 15.6-inch touchscreen that Amazon wants you to mount on your kitchen wall (in landscape or portrait mode, that’s up to you) for quick calendar viewing and TV watching. It includes Amazon’s latest AZ2 Neural Edge processor to deliver 22 times more trillions of operations per second than the previous Show model. That means you can keep a family calendar up on the wall at all times while also letting Alexa chill in the background, ready at any time to add a reminder to your schedule or a sticky note to the display. And yes: Alexa will, indeed, be listening...closely... when you summon it.
Your new kitchen TV — Because the Echo Show 15 is essentially as powerful as a full-featured tablet, Amazon is really pushing it as a device capable of organizing your whole life. The main display is customizable with widgets: recipes, to-do lists, an aggregated family calendar, weather, your photo album. It’s meant to be an always-on experience, a quick reference point for your home.
Amazon wants the new Echo Show 15 to be more than just an organizer display, though. The company upgraded the screen significantly this year. At 15.6 inches with 1080p resolution — and that wall-mounting ability — Amazon wants the Echo Show 15 to be your new kitchen TV. It can play your favorite Prime Video series or movie, yes, but also includes support for Netflix, Hulu, and, soon, Sling TV. Amazon is teasing support for TikTok, Audible, and various mainstream news channel streams, too. And cameras can be opened for easy picture-in-picture mode for easy viewing while you watch any of them.
A constant Amazon presence — The Echo Show 15 is, of course, part of the larger Echo family of devices, and Amazon wants it to feel very integrated with your existing devices. Like all Echo devices, it’s got far-field microphones to listen for that “Hey Alexa” prompt. Unlike the Echo speakers, though, the Show can also recognize you by sight (Visual ID) — and the Show 15 will adjust the on-screen experience accordingly. That includes custom greetings, calendar events, and personal notes. The Echo Show 15 will also display kid-safe content when it detects a child in front of it.
The Echo Show 15 will also listen for sounds other than Alexa’s name. At its announcement event today, Amazon teased a new custom sound detection feature that it plans to launch next year. The company didn’t offer much in the way of details here except to say that it’ll be possible to use it to potentially detect break-ins while you’re sleeping or the ping of your fridge opening.
With this constant presence, Amazon is, as always, pushing just how much you can control your own privacy settings with the Echo Show 15. Visual ID is opt-in; you can view and delete your voice recordings; there’s a built-in shutter for the camera.
The Echo Show 15 retails for $249.99 — the same price as the previous generation. It’ll be available sometime later this year.