1 in 6 Americans owns a smart speaker

Doris Richards
January 16, 2018

When the Spot isn't being used it can even revert to a digital clock face meaning it should never look out of place. Even Google was left behind.

Amazon's Echo Spot is just one of two Alexa speakers to feature a display; in this case, a 2.5-inch touchscreen with a pin-sharp 480 x 480 resolution.

The UK release comes right after the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas where four Google Assistant-enabled Echo Show competitors were announced.

Sporting a 2.5-inch circular screen, the Echo Spot isn't really designed for watching movies, but it could prove useful for video calls, short news snippets, weather forecasts, and so on. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth capability, so you can pair it with other speakers and compatible devices.

With the multi-room music feature, users can play music throughout the home. Brands supported now include "Ring, Arlo, Philips Hue, IKEA, Hive, TP-Link, Netatmo, WeMo, Smart Things, and Tado".

Shipping will start on the 24th January. The Echo Show joined the ranks previous year and was the first to offer a display.

The Echo Spot is the second-smallest of Amazon's Alexa-powered smart speaker devices.

These devices do everything you would expect from a smart display, such as play music and operate connected lights, make video calls, videos and so on, all using voice controls.

The Echo Spot is a cross between an Echo Dot and a smaller version of the Amazon Show. This led to another effect: more and more device makers want their products to sport Alexa as a smart assistant.

Amazon has made the process really streamlined: if you are an experienced programmer, you can simply register with an Amazon developer account, develop the skill and ask for the registration of the product, something that I started a year ago; and it was really fun, indeed.

Whirlpool introduced a smart clothes washer and dryer last year and at CES this year added Alexa voice control.

There are several reasons not everyone who wants a smart home has one yet.

Amazon found great success with its Echo Dot, which was a smaller, cheaper alternative to the full-size Echo speaker - effectively an Echo with a less powerful speaker. Apple's Siri, on the other hand, was not even mentioned in the conversations.

A speaker might help customers stay loyal to other services such as Apple Music, Apple Watch, Apple TV and AirPods.

All of this may seem invasive, to say the least, but for their part Amazon and Google insist their smart speakers do not record voices until someone directly addresses the device with a "wake word" such as "Alexa" or "okay Google". This will cost approximately, $499, which is quite high when compared to Amazon Echo Show that costs just $299 with nearly the same features. Amazon is discounting three of its Echo products again.

But, as all those non-Samsung devices add direct interoperability with Google and Amazon's ecosystems, SmartThings' future relevance can only diminish. Amazon claims to have sold "tens of millions" of Alexa-enabled devices worldwide during the 2017 holiday season alone.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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