Amazing Echo Show

Date: July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day to all my US friends and may the force be with you guys.

Yesterday, I received my new Echo Show from Amazon.  It is another “Alexa”, but this Alexa is more powerful, as it comes with a screen.

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The box includes Echo Show & a 21W power adapter.

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So, no surprise, you find the Echo Show in there.

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And underneath is the 21W power adapter.  This is the same power adapter used by the other Alexa (big Echo or small Echo Dot, with no screen).

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21W 1.4A power adapter.

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The box tells you what Echo Show can do already.

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The Echo Show front panel.  With huge speakers and a camera.

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Surprisingly, it is quite heavy.  Heavy is good, means the magnet of the speaker is heavy.  So, the speaker should be very good, and better than the original Echo.

There is nothing at both side.

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The backside view.  This is where the power plugs in.

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Very simple design.  3 buttons.  Volumes control and mute button.

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Setup is pretty easy.

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It should be very fast to set it up.

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Let’s fire it up.

First thing it asked for is the WiFi.  It is different from the previous Echo, as previous Echo has no screen, and you can’t enter anything directly.  But Echo Show comes with a touch screen.  So, you can interact with Alexa.

If you want to buy Echo Show, you should use your own Amazon Prime account to order.  Like that, they will pre-configure everything to your account.  Just like this unit I just received, is pre-configure to my Amazon account.

Next, we need to select the Time Zone.  I can’t find Singapore.  So, that means, the location based will not work.  i.e. you cannot ask “Alexa, hows the weather today?”.  Instead you ask “Alexa, hows the weather in Singapore today?”.

There is a same time zone you can choose, which is China time zone which is +8GMT.  By selecting this, you can ask “Alexa, what is the time now?”  instead of “Alexa, what is the time in Singapore now?”.

One thing really puzzle me.  Why it does not have Singapore or Malaysia.  But it has Indonesia, Myanmar, and all those Middle East, Africa countries?  Really strange.

Next, we go to update screen.  It takes 10 minutes to update.  The latest updates is July 1 firmware.

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While Alexa (Echo Show) is updating, I launch the Alexa App on my iPhone to play around.

The new Echo Show should allow you to call any contacts in your contacts list that has Alexa app or Echo/Echo Dot/Echo Show at home.  Sadly, It only find 5 friends that has Amazon Echo.

Which means, they can drop in or call me.

So, that means, in order for my wife to call me, or for Jay to call the Echo Show, they have to register a new Amazon account.  Which I think is somewhat not necessary.  (why would a kid need his own Amazon account?)  But I am not sure about this, will research this later.

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After updating, it takes another few minutes to optimize the unit.

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Here is the tutorial video comes with Alexa Echo Show.

The home screen for Alexa Echo Show.  The temperature is in Farenheit.

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All the stuff you trained Alexa before will be the same as before.  Alexa can turn on off your lights, change lights colour, dim the lights, etc.  You can also ask Alexa for Audiobooks.  And of course, you can play songs either from Spotify or Amazon Prime Music.  I set the default to Spotify.  But since you have Amazon Echo Show, it is recommended to set the default to Prime Music.  Like this, you get the Lyrics.

The speakers is damn good.  Even better than the Echo.  Echo already have amazing speakers, but this Echo Show’s speaker is multiple times more powerful.  Just listen to the song recorded.

You can also select your playlist.  Be able to show the lyrics while it sings is very important.  This is how you learn to sing a song.

Since you are Amazon Prime account holder, you can have UNLIMITED disk space.  So, you can place your photos in the Amazon Drive, and then, ask Alexa to play your photo slide shows.  But somehow, it will play all the photos there.  So, there is no concept of Album (or I have not discover how to do it yet?).  I simply created a few directories i.e. photos and videos, and I created some subdirectory, and Alexa simply play every thing.

You can ask Alexa for weather in Singapore.

Alexa will read your Kindle Books too.  It is not necessary that you buy Audiobooks from Audible.  If you have Kindle books, Alexa will know how to read it for you.

For education purpose, you can ask Alexa any questions for a quick answer.  And Echo Show will display the search results on the screen.

Alexa can play movie trailers.  And of course, it can play Youtube (with restricted mode turned on).

Alexa can learn a lot of new skills.  CNBC is one of the new skills that is Echo Show optimized.  Means, it will play the TV.  you can check for stock prices too.

There is also another app, CNN.  Yes, it can read news, or play the latest CNN TV videos, etc.  There are Uber app too, but I doubt it will work, because you are in Singapore with no location set to your Echo Show.

Now is just the first week of Echo Show debut.  So, give them some times, all the developers will develop their app, games with videos in mind.  I played Jeopardy yesterday, decided to quit as I don’t know a lot of US history to play the game. but the Graphics is good.

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Another interesting Alexa App is Bloomberg.  Wow, the financial info is at your finger tips.

WOW!  It is almost 2am in the morning.  I was so excited and play with Alexa for so long that I forgot to sleep.  OK, it is time to sleep.  Alexa, do not disturb.  Immediately, the lights are dim, and Alexa become a bedside table clock.  Wow.  Interesting.  Good night.

As I given my views before,

  1. In terms of personal assistant.  Amazon’s Alexa has done a great job, and it certainly outshine Google, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft.  So far, the ability for Alexa to recognize my voice, my wife voice, my sons’ voice are excellent.  Alexa actually knows what I am talking about.  And Alexa actually gives meaningful results to me.  Try that on Siri, I am sure you will be frustrated.
  2. Amazon not only did Alexa well, they also come out with great home for Alexa.  The Echo, the Echo Dot and now Echo Show are excellent hardware.  Just listen to their speaker, you know Amazon are ahead of the home assistent game here.  The microphone is super sensitive and they can hear what you say from far.
  3. Echo Show now has a touch screen.  You wonder, why you need Echo Show when you have iPad?  But iPad with Siri does not work well.  Echo Show or Echo with Alexa is the greatest pair that works.  The IoT at my home, although not much, but it does allow me to turn on/off my Aircon, Lights, TV, Apple TV.  In addition, the close integration into the Amazon Drive, allows me to see my photos.  So, Echo Show can be a Digital Photo frame.  You can ask Alexa to read books from Audible or from your Kindle selections.  You can ask Alexa to play the Prime music.  And yet, there are many many skills that I have not discover yet.  And there are many many coming soon Echo Show app that the developers are developing at the moment.
  4. Of course, you will need to beware of the risk you are in to.  Alexa or Google or Siri will always listen to what you do.  Since now you have a camera, Alexa can watch you.  May be I am paranoid, but I think it does have such capability.  Luckily, my kickstarter antispy camera cover is coming soon, in near future I am able to turn off the camera with a slider.  hahaha
  5. It is a great device, and I think, my kids will love Alexa even more.  Amazon, you have done well!  And you are on the right track.  All these are in the correct direction.  So, I imagine, you will soon come up with a bigger screen TV.  And it is so intelligent as it is an Alexa, MP3 player, FireTV, Kindle Books, Photo frame plus much more all in one box.  I want to see that day to come soon ya.

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