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Amazon Shows Us Another Echo, This One With Touchscreen

For the second time in two weeks Amazon this morning has introduced another variant to its market-leading Echo smart-speaker line.

This time, the House That Bezos Built is showing us Echo Show, a square-shaped smart speaker that features a 7-inch touchscreen and 5-megapixel camera for hands-free video chats with other Show or Alexa App owners.

Amazon is currently taking pre-orders for the $230 device, which will be available June 28 in black or white, and is offering a $100 discount toward the purchase of two or more units.

Show’s features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; dual 2-inch stereo speakers with dynamic bass response; an 8-microphone array and beam-forming technology to pick up across-the-room commands; and, of course, the AI smarts of Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant platform, which supports some 10,000 third-party “skills,” or apps, including connected commands for smart-home brands like Ring, WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Ecobee and Wink.

Amazon said the touchscreen display is “optimized for visibility across the room,” and can be used to view photos, YouTube videos, security camera views, web-based video chats, and film and TV streams from the Amazon Video library.

The latest Echo variant follows last month’s debut of the fashion-focused Echo Look, and was accompanied by a $30 price drop on the classic Echo, to $150.

The expansion of the Echo family, which also includes the diminutive Dot and Tap models, may further cement Amazon’s commanding lead in the smart-speaker market in advance of stepped-up competition from Google, Apple and, most recently, Microsoft and Samsung.