If you’ve been hanging onto the edge of your seat for news of another smart hub device, you’ll be happy to hear Amazon’s release of the Echo Show 5. The 5-in. smart display—which resembles the 7-in. Google Nest Hub—is available from the Amazon website and the bricks-and-mortar ofAmazon Books stores.
The All-New Echo
The Echo Show 5 is essentially a smaller, more versatile version of its predecessor, the Echo Show. The device, which is available in either sandstone or charcoal, is fitted with a 5.5-inch screen, speaker, and camera compatible with Skype and Amazon’s Drop-In feature.
Other new features the Echo Show 5 has adopted to stay neck-in-neck with competitors include an auto brightness feature, able to adjust the screen based on surrounding light. The smart hub control screen will also come with more controls for paired devices, such as thermostats, lightbulbs, and smart locks. Furthermore, you can connect your smart doorbell to view your camera’s security feed and chat with anyone who rings the bell.
Unlike the larger Echo Show (2nd generation), the Echo Show 5 does not have a built-in Zigbee hub, so cannot natively support smart accessories compatible with the Zigbee protocol.
Alexa at Your Bedside
As expected, the Echo Show 5 will be able to handle standard Alexa commands, such as asking about the weather, playing your favorite radio station, answering questions, and more. Amazon also promised the Echo Show 5 will offer support for WikiHow, allowing users to access helpful videos for questions like, “How do I cancel a credit card?” or “How can I clean my sneakers?”
The device is meant to act as the ideal middle ground for those still searching for the perfect smart speaker device. The Echo Show, which features a 10-inch display, may be too bulky for many users. The Echo Dot, on the other hand, may be too tiny to effectively complete tasks. The Echo Show 5 offers a sweet spot that’s both effective and convenient.
Tackling Consumer Concerns
One of the biggest consumer pushbacks when it comes to smart hubs is concerns over privacy. It’s been reported Amazon has hired thousands of full-time employees across multiple countries specifically to listen to conversations with Alexa. The goal, according to the company, is to optimize Alexa’s accuracy. But it comes as no surprise this excuse does little to assuage customer fears.
Amazon has decided to address the issue head-on with the Echo Show 5, adding a visible shutter switch on the device that can be manually turned off. Once off, you can easily see the camera is powered down and the lens is covered. This differs from similar smart hubs with disabling capabilities, as you don’t have to physically look at the screen to know whether the camera has been turned off.
The company also promises more transparency with how it uses personal data. In fact, one of Alexa’s newly unveiled commands is, “Delete everything I said today.” After, Alexa will erase your history of voice searches for the day. The privacy features all come to a head with the announcement of the Alexa Privacy Hub. This hub expands Europe’s GDPR regulations, internet privacy rules, in order to offer quick access to privacy settings, educational videos, guidance on controls and much more.
Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and productivity blogger. She is a senior writer for MakeUseOf and the owner and editor of her tech productivity blog, Productivity Bytes. You can read more by Kayla at Inc.com, VentureBeat, DMN, and more.