To gain adoption, AI assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant compete in environments from the car to the workplace, kitchen, and entertainment room. Today Amazon is making a new play for the nightstand with the debut of the Echo Show 5.
With a 5.5-inch screen, the Echo Show 5 is roughly half the size of the 10-inch second-generation Echo Show that debuted last fall, but it appears to be identical in design.
The Echo Show 5 will include an HD video camera for Skype and Alexa video calls and will automatically adjust to mimic ambient light, similar to Google’s Nest Home Hub.
Alexa Sunrise, a new feature for the Echo Show and Echo Show 5, will play soothing warm lights to slowly wake you up before your alarm goes off. No demonstration of Alexa Sunrise was provided, but it sounds similar to Google Assistant’s Gentle Wake Mode for Pixel Stand or bedside devices. The $79 Lenovo Smart Clock with Google’s Gentle Wake goes on sale for the first time next week.
The Echo Show 5 will be available for the first time next month in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Sales begin in India in July. The device comes in charcoal (black) and sandstone (white) and will cost $89.
Like any other Echo device, the Echo Show 5 will be able to do things like respond to Alexa Routines, control smart home devices, order things from Amazon or Whole Foods, and play music from services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Like the larger Echo Show, the Echo Show 5 will be able to play television shows and Amazon Prime videos and launch visual Alexa skills that use the Alexa Presentation Language. Hands-free access to hundreds of wikiHow videos that answer how-to questions will also be available soon, a company spokesperson said today.
Additional devices in the smart display category include Facebook’s Portal, which speaks with Alexa and will soon make WhatsApp video calls, and Google’s Nest Hub Max with facial recognition, due out this summer.
In other news, Amazon also today enabled an “Alexa, delete what I said today” voice command for Echo speakers and other devices that use Alexa, and last week in-home intercom announcements were extended to all Alexa devices.