The next Amazon Echo is a picture frame that lets Alexa recognise your face


Amazon has unveiled its latest addition to the Echo lineup – the Amazon Echo Show 15. As the name suggests, the device has a 15.6-inch touchscreen display that can be mounted on a wall like a picture frame or placed on a counter, either in portrait or landscape orientation, with the help of a stand.

Like the Echo Show 5 and Show 8, the new gadget combines hands-free assistant Alexa with a display to bring extra information. For example, when you ask Alexa about the weather, you’ll get a similar answer from the Echo Show 15 as you can expect from the standard voice-only Echo – usually the next 24-hours or so – while the screen will display the forecast for an extra couple of days.

Echo Show 15 brings a number of new twists to the Echo lineup. First up, Alexa widgets offer interactive ways to control smart lights, adjust the heating in your home, collaborate on To Do lists, and more. Alexa widgets continually refresh to stay up to date, so you should always have the latest information at a glance. Widgets can be rearranged on the homescreen to suit your needs.

Of course, Widgets for calendars, recently played tracks, and notes are only useful if the Echo Show 15 is able to work out who you are. And that’s where the Echo Show 15’s next trick comes in. Dubbed Visual ID, this smart picture frame is the first Amazon-designed device that includes facial recognition, which enables chatty AI Alexa to recognise you and personalise the on-screen information on Echo Show 15 when you walk into the room.

If you decide to enrol in Visual ID, whenever you walk in front of the Show 15, Alexa will automatically show you a custom greeting and load your personal reminders, calendar, favourite music, notes, and any reminders left for you from other members of the household. Alexa can be taught to recognise your children too, thanks to Visual ID for Kids, which will ensure the homescreen on Echo Show 15 will only show age-appropriate content whenever your child is recognised.

The front-facing camera that powers Visual ID can be used to make video calls from your Echo Show 15. The expansive 1080p touchscreen can be used as a kitchen television, so you can follow along with cooking shows, or just binge on a new boxset while cooking. At launch, Alexa will be able to load-up movies and television shows from Prime Video, Netflix, and more. Coming soon, you’ll be able to watch TikTok videos on the big screen, Amazon says.

As with all Amazon Echo devices, Alexa can play music from some of your favourite services – from Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music HD – or read from an Audible audiobook. If you have both the audiobook and Kindle e-book version of the same novel, Amazon will sync playback between the two, so you can pick-up where you left off as you move between a Kindle and your Echo.

Echo Show 15 can seamlessly blend into your décor by displaying full-screen pictures from Amazon Photos or alternating visuals from pre-loaded art, nature, seasonal, or travel galleries. When mounted to the wall, Amazon says the Echo Show 15 will look almost indistinguishable from a picture frame …except for the power cable that has to hang down from beneath the frame.

“Today, families juggle multiple competing priorities—what time to drop the kids off at soccer practice, what to make for dinner, or when to schedule the next appointment—the list goes on and on. With Echo Show 15, Alexa can help,” said Tom Taylor, senior vice president, Amazon Alexa.

“Echo Show 15 brings everything that makes your household tick into one place. With a redesigned home screen and Alexa widgets, you can customise Echo Show 15 to see your shared family calendar, manage to-do lists and reminders, find meal inspiration, and keep track of your incoming packages. Plus, Echo Show 15 can adapt to your home environment with full-screen photos or art, so it’s always there when you need it, but fades beautifully into the background when you don’t.”

Echo Show 15 will be available for $249.99 in the United States. UK pricing and release date have yet to be announced. If you want to prop-up the Echo Show 15 with the countertop stands, you’ll need to add that to your shopping basket separately.



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