Amazon Echo Show Brings in Conferencing Tools
Amazon's Echo system has come a long way in a very short time, and now it's about to go even farther, working frantically to seal off some potential competitive avenues behind it and quite possibly hold its first-mover advantage. The biggest new gains are in conferencing, and the new Amazon Echo Show is making a huge new push on this front.
The Echo Show offers a seven-inch touch screen for both display and interface, allowing users to not only display calendar appointments, but also play videos, show music lyrics, and plenty more. Selling in late June, the device is expected to cost $229, which is a $50 price hike over the current top-of-the-line Echo. Amazon hasn't been keeping quiet with the Echo, and recently brought out the Echo Look, which actually had the ability to evaluate a user's wardrobe.
That's a lot of hardware, but Amazon's key purpose of getting into hardware isn't really to sell hardware. Rather, it's to serve as a means to get more people into the Amazon ecosystem, not only to buy things directly from Amazon but also to get in on the Prime subscription service. Better yet, Amazon's actually out in front on this market; Google didn't even start selling Home devices until two years after Amazon started, and Apple's Siri-based version hasn't even hit stores yet. Amazon has a massive first-mover advantage here, and everything it does now is likely done to secure that advantage going forward.
It's similar to what we saw with the Kindle line; Kindle wasn't about Kindle, Kindle was about a way to sell more e-books over an Amazon-branded platform that basically let people buy books directly from the same Amazon-branded device the reader would use to read these books.
That's not to say that Apple and Google can't swamp Amazon's first-mover advantage, though; each of the firms likely has its own advantage in mind, using conferencing systems as a mean to connect not only users to each other, but users to businesses, and thus provide value all around. In fact, some project that Apple may have an Echo rival already in the works for its upcoming developers' conference next month. Reports even noted that Apple employees have already been testing such a device at home for months now.
Only time will tell, in the end, just what kind of impact Apple and Google's conferencing devices will have on the field, and if it's enough to break Amazon's advantage. It's really anyone's game at this point, but Amazon does have that early lead, and Google and Apple will have to do a lot of convincing to get Echo buyers to ignore one purchase for another.