Amazon Dash Wand No More – Alexa Shopping Device Discontinued
Amazon is shutting down the Amazon Dash Wand on July 21, three years after the product scanner and Alexa voice assistant-powered device first debuted. The company isn’t just ending support for the product, it is remotely bricking them so they can’t be used at all and asking owners to send their Wands to Amazon’s recycling program, according to an email sent to Wand owners and shared with Voicebot. The decision continues Amazon’s consolidation around the Echo brand for Alexa with more versatile smart speakers and smart displays instead of the more narrowly-focused Dash Wand.
The Dash Wand debuted in 2017 as part of Amazon’s wider line up of Dash products, such as the Dash buttons that would reorder a product when pressed. Amazon ended its support for the Dash buttons in May, a now-obvious sign of what the company planned for the Dash Wand and the Dash brand. The Wand includes a barcode scanner and a microphone to ask Alexa to order products. The voice assistant was originally limited to just ordering products, but Amazon later released a new version of the Dash Wand that expanded on what Alexa could do, making it a kind of portable microphone for Alexa. Though the Wand technically cost $50, Amazon largely gave them away as part of a subscription to Amazon Fresh and other deals. The problem was that this ate directly into potential Echo smart speaker sales, as Voicebot’s Bret Kinsella pointed out in his 2017 review of the Dash Wand.
“Amazon Echo was designed for the kitchen. The timer. The music access. The measurement conversions. Home automation control. It is a handy kitchen tool even if you don’t use it for anything else. The Echo is at home in the living room, bedroom and throughout the house, but it really shines as a voice assistant in the kitchen. Amazon Dash Wand was also designed for the kitchen. It is about reordering food and kitchen supplies and even has a magnet to attach to the refrigerator. Do we need two Alexa access points in the kitchen? One Echo and one Dash Wand. Or a third? The Echo Show which also could easily fit into the kitchen. The short answer is no.”
The Wand, The Look, What’s Next?
The Dash Wand, like the Echo Look, was built around a narrow set of activities, in the kitchen and the closet respectively, that Amazon hoped would encourage customers to shop for more items more often on its platform. In both cases, those purposes have been superseded by the Echo and Echo Show product lines. Amazon still wants people to use Alexa for clothes and food purchases, but it doesn’t want people to stop there. The company is pursuing a house-wide strategy for Alexa, where every aspect of a home that can be controlled by Alexa does so through Echo devices. That’s part of why the company offers Echo Dots so cheaply throws them in as part of other deals. The Dot can do most of what the Wand could, and if people want a barcode reader, the Echo Show and Echo Show 5 can handle it. Amazon isn’t done experimenting with incorporating Alexa into specialty items like the Echo Loop ring and Echo Frames smart glasses, which connect to Alexa through smartphones. But, any future smart home devices will likely be branded as an Echo product and linked to Alexa through the smart speakers and smart displays.