Gadgets

The free gadget that Amazon hopes will compel you to order more stuff — lots more stuff

A rendering of Amazon's handheld Dash, a barcode scanner/voice recorder for adding to your shopping list.

Above: A rendering of Amazon's handheld Dash, a barcode scanner/voice recorder for adding to your shopping list.

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Amazon just launched a slick-looking website for the Amazon Dash, a handheld gadget for adding products to your shopping list.

“Every member of the family can use Dash to easily add items to your AmazonFresh shopping list,” reads the site. Just aim the business end at the barcode on an empty peanut butter jar, press the scan button, and it retrieves the data from the code and beams it to the cloud. Next time you place an order with AmazonFresh, that peanut butter will already be on your shopping list.

Don’t have a barcode handy? Press the microphone button and say what you want (“chocolate chips”). Voice-recognition software will interpret your request and add it to your shopping list, too.

AmazonFresh is the company’s grocery-delivery service. It’s available only in Seattle, San Francisco, and Southern California.

The Dash connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network to upload the items to your shopping list on AmazonFresh. Later, you can use your phone or computer to place the orders and have Amazon deliver the goods to your house.

Right now, the site is giving away the Dash for free — but only to people who have received an invitation via email. It’s not clear if the Dash will remain free for all, even if it becomes more widely available. But given the low costs of manufacturing such a device, and the amount of extra business it could produce for AmazonFresh, it might make sense for the company to give it away — or offer it as an added incentive to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Here’s Amazon’s video on the Dash, which features (naturally) a lot of busy parents whose hands are busy holding toddlers or making cookies.


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