Zoom, the video calling/meeting service, has announced that they’ll be adding support for Zoom video calls to Amazon Echo Show devices this fall. Support will first be added to the Echo Show 8, with other models presumably gaining the functionality later in the year. You’ll be able to simply say “Alexa, join my zoom meeting” to start a video call. Zoom says that if you have your calendar linked in the Alexa app, you won’t need to know your meeting ID or passcode to enter meetings through your Echo Show. If you’re planning to use the new functionality, you might want to pick up one of Amazon’s Echo Show adjustable stands to better position the screen and camera. When Zoom support arrives, it will become the 3rd option for video calls on Echo Show devices, along with Amazon’s own calling service and Skype.
Amazon Echo Show devices are appearing as casting receivers in the YouTube app for Android, as pointed out to me by an AFTVnews reader. Sure enough, when tapping the cast icon on my phone, both my 1st-gen and 2nd-gen Echo Shows are listed as cast points, alongside my Fire TV devices. Apart from a bit of a loophole, that has since been closed, YouTube apps and Echo Shows have not had any casting interaction in the past. Unfortunately, even though Echo Shows are listed as valid casting receivers, selecting one does not actually work. Read more ›
Now that the Amazon Echo Show has gained both Amazon Silk and Firefox browsers, it’s once again possible to watch YouTube videos on the device. Unfortunately, the mobile interface of YouTube that loads in these browsers isn’t exactly ideal for a device like the Echo Show. Thankfully, with just a little bit of initial setup, it’s possible to cast YouTube videos from mobile devices, like iPhones and Android phones, to the Echo Show. If you don’t mind using a phone to start and control videos, casting is a much better way to watch YouTube videos on the Echo Show. Here’s how to get it working. Read more ›
The all-new Amazon Echo Show is being released today but owners of the 1st generation Echo Show are receiving a software update that adds many of the new model’s features to their existing devices. In addition to an overall system-wide refresh of the interface, the new update has added both the Amazon Silk and Firefox web browsers which, most notably, restores access to YouTube on the Echo Show. Also being added is a new smart home dashboard that gives quick touch access to smart lights and Alexa routines. Echo Shows can now also stream NBC and Hulu programming. Read more ›
Amazon and Microsoft have announced that Skype calling is coming to Alexa. Amazon Echo smart speakers will be able to make Skype voice calls, while Echo Shows will also be able to make Skype video calls. Those who pay for SkypeOut will also be able to use Alexa to call mobile and landlines through Skype, although that funcitonality is already available for free directly through Alexa’s default calling capabillities. The integration will simply work by saying “Alexa, call [contact] on Skype.” Microsoft says it will arrive on Echo devices later this year.
Amazon has announced a new 2nd-generation Echo Show. The new model improves on the last model in nearly every way. It’s much better looking and has a front that is dominated by a large 10.1-inch HD touchscreen. It features premium sound through a pair of side firing speakers behind the display. It’s available to pre-order now for $229.99 in Charcol or Sandstone colors and will arrive on October 11th. Buying 2 at the same time will automatically take $100 off at checkout. Read more ›
Amazon has added a new accessibility feature to the Echo Show called “Tap to Alexa.” It’s meant to give people who are unable to interact with Alexa by voice, such as people with a speech impairment, a way to access most of the Echo Show’s features by using the touchscreen. It works by displaying a grid of customizable icons that execute Alexa tasks when tapped. While it’s meant to be used by impaired individuals, it’s actually hand enough that anyone might find it useful. Read more ›
When Amazon added the ability to make phone calls using Echo devices, one issue was that you couldn’t really use the feature to call a phone number that had a navigation menu because there was no way to enter keypad presses with your voice or otherwise. Amazon has now addressed the shortcoming on Alexa devices with a screen, like the Echo Spot and Echo Show, by providing the option to bring up a keypad on the touchscreen. There’s still no way to ask Alexa to submit a key press using your voice, so the limitation remains present on the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus, but this update to the Echo Spot and Echo Show at least indicates that Amazon is aware of the issue, so we may get keypad input by voice in the future.