Amazon’s New Hardware Products

Echo Loop and Echo Frame: Almost nobody wants either of these products as they exist today, and Amazon knows it — both products are “limited quantity” and invitation-only. Neither product does anything you can’t just do with your phone. Their only reason for existence — in their current forms — is to make Alexa an always-available voice assistant. Siri and Google Assistant are always available on their respective companies’ phones; Amazon’s attempt to make a phone didn’t turn out so good.

Rings and glasses are good ideas for smart wearables. My pal Craig Hockenberry speculated on the potential of a smart ring back in 2014, even, before Apple Watch was announced. But to get people to actually buy and wear things like this, the devices have to do more. Apple Watch gives you glanceable notifications and complications, and is an excellent fitness and health tracker. The Echo Frames aren’t as ugly as Google Glass was, but wake me up when someone makes smart glasses that people would actually want to wear and which actually display useful heads-up information.

Celebrity Voices Coming to Alexa: Replacing Alexa’s voice with Samuel L. Jackson’s? With an explicit option? Hell yes, sign me up.

Friday, 27 September 2019