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The Intriguing Amazon Echo Spot

Amazon announced not one but two new Echo products today and also brought out something completely new: Amazon Echo Spot. This is the most intriguing of today’s new product announcements by a big margin. It is like a mini Amazon Echo Show. The perfect size to replace your alarm clock in the bedroom or fit in a nook where Echo Show would be too large. There doesn’t appear to be an official Amazon video promoting the device, but Geekwire posted the video below as a first look.

Is Amazon Echo Spot Just a Miniature Echo Show?

In some ways the Amazon Echo Spot resembles a miniature Echo Show, but 40% less expensive. The screen is smaller, but it still has a touch-sensitive display. The obvious comparison is that the Echo Spot is to the Echo Show what the Echo Dot is to the Echo. The Echo Dot sacrificed audio quality for a smaller device size and lower price point. The Echo Spot sacrifices both the speaker size and the ability to display larger images but has a much lower price point. What it retains is the ability to display short notifications, the time and even execute video calling.

What Are the Echo Spot Use Cases

The clock replacement use case is obvious especially if you think of the device as tailor-made for the bedroom nightstand. Smart home control and music also make sense, but it is hard to see how it is meaningfully better than Echo Dot which is less than half the price. Watching video clips (other than YouTube) is supported as is video calling. I am skeptical that this will be a good user experience with such a small screen, but Echo Show took me by surprise so I am open to seeing if Amazon pulled off some more magic in a smaller package. Other than that, it seems more like an Echo Dot with a screen than a miniature Echo Show.

Is This Another Example of Beating Google to the Punch?

Amazon Echo Spot is retailing for $129.99. If they don’t sell out immediately, you can bet Amazon will be discounting them heavily to push unit volume during the Holiday shopping season. This presence of this device now also makes me think that Google may be close to announcing an Echo Show competitor at its October 4th event. We have already heard about the Google Home Mini and Pixel, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see more products. The rumored Google Home Max would make sense, but video is a key product portfolio gap for Google. Just prior to the announcement of Google Home last year, Amazon rolled out the low-priced Echo Dot. Rolling out the low-priced Echo Spot this year would have some symmetry if Google does have a smart speaker with display ready to announced next week.

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