The Echo Show – which I can’t buy in the UK, of course, because Amazon thinks we’re a third world country, so go to Amazon.com to look at it, I suppose — is probably the device that should have come before the Echo and the Dot. It’s the actual device you want in the kitchen. Or, at least, the one I would want in the kitchen. I get up, I go to the kitchen, I make coffee — I want to know what the weather’s doing, what the news is, what deliveries are lined up for the day, and I want it at a glance, and I probably also want to be able to shout at it. But, crucially, I don’t want to have to make it try and understand my voice first thing in the morning. Because nobody can, because I’m not fully awake. I want a touchscreen I can stab a finger in the general direction of, like the comfused and debilitated hominid I am, and have it do things. This is what a “home assistant,” or whatever we call these things, should do and be. It’s the kitchen station the Echo should always have been. The voice-activated networked speaker idea was very clever, but it wasn’t very human.
(A degree of ableist privilege here, I’ll admit. But given that the Echo voice-interaction ability is baked into the Echo Show too, the device is exclusionary neither to the deaf or the blind.)
Amazon’s fearsome, ruthless iteration process really is a thing to behold.
This is a photo of some other things that recently arrived in my house because I am British and therefore not allowed to own an Amazon Echo.