Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Introducing Amazon Echo Buttons - Why they matter to merchants

Introducing Amazon Echo Buttons - Why they matter to merchants

Amazon confirmed that the new Echo Spot voice assistant is now available in the UK.

Amazon's Jorrit Van der Meulen said: "Echo Spot combines the popular small design of Echo Dot, the display of Echo Show, and the features you love about Alexa into a stylish and compact device". It can be pre-ordered in black or white from Amazon for GBP 119.99, and will ship to customers from 24 January.

"Anywhere you could put a dot [Amazon Echo Dot]".

The market for smart speakers has boomed in 2017 with more products hitting the market. We don't know how many Alexa-enabled products Amazon sold in the past two years but consumers did purchase "tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices" this past holiday season.

Meanwhile, with Alexa support you can ask questions, set alarms, shop, play music, podcasts and audiobooks, and control every compatible device in your smart home just by using your voice.

It even works with smart home cameras, so an office-based Echo Spot could be used to check up on a live security feed in your house. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth capability, so you can pair it with other speakers and compatible devices.

Neither Amazon nor Google is forcing exclusive deals, hardware executives say, with the understanding that consumers may prefer a different assistant in different settings. In comparison, Alexa is arriving on headphones, smartwatches, cars, and many more TVs this year, and will even be able to directly control ovens and microwaves. "It's a long journey to making a real assistant that you can communicate with over a longer period of time to really be approachable and interesting and better than the alternative", explains Andrew Shuman, corporate vice president of Cortana engineering, in an interview with GeekWire. A cross between the Echo Show and Echo Dot, the Spot is intended as an Alexa-powered bedside/kitchen companion and is a complete reimagining of the alarm clock for the smart home era. Both Apple and Microsoft, much to their dismay, perhaps, have found out that breaking ice in this particular market is not that easy, despite both companies having their own virtual assistants - Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortona.

As they've started to go mainstream, smart speakers have also started to displace older technologies.

The home speaker segment, till now, has been dominated by Amazon with Google also shoring up its presence.

Stanton said that getting their foot into the door of new households was key.

"We expect them to pour money into European marketing as the battle intensifies".

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