Amazon Glow Interactive Projector and Video Caller for Kids Released in US
Amazon has released a new device for children combining an interactive projector and video call screen called Glow in the U.S. Kids can talk face-to-face with a distant friend or relative while playing games or reading books with them through the virtual touchscreen created by the projector, mirrored on their video caller’s smart device.
Glow From Afar
Amazon Glow is designed to mimic being in-person with someone far away for children. While the pre-approved caller converses with the child through the 8-inch video chat screen, the caller can manipulate the 19.2-inch projected touchscreen in front of the child. They can read stories together, and the child will see the page on the table turn as the person on the screen flips the page on their device. The same goes for games and art projects. The caller’s Android or iOS device links to the interactive projector via a free Glow app to sync the experience. The activities are part of the Amazon Kids+ package of kid-focused software, to which purchasers of the $300 Glow receive a free year’s subscription.
The device has been undergoing a pilot test among a limited, invite-only group until now, though sales are still geographically limited at the moment. The wide release expanded the content available to Glow users and fixed some bugs. Despite the clear presence of AI in how Glow operates, it notably does not include the Alexa voice assistant. That’s likely due to both technical hurdles and the many legal challenges Amazon and other voice assistant developers are already facing over whether they are violating child privacy laws. Amazon’s vision for Glow is to encourage kids to stay engaged on video calls with distant relatives and friends with activities, but not including the many child-friendly voice games available for Alexa.
“We know a majority of parents say it’s challenging for their kids to stay engaged on traditional video calls, and, let’s be honest, stay in one place,” Amazon Glow general manager Joerg Tewes said. “Glow is like a giant virtual recreation room bursting with fun, creating a magical experience that captivates kids and delights the entire family. Customers have told us that ‘Glow Time’ happens all the time in their homes as kids embrace the new direct access they have for fun with distant family members.”
Amazon describes the Glow as its first kid-specific device built “from the ground up,” but the tech giant has been building up its child-focused tech devices for years. That includes the Echo Dot Kids Edition and Alexa-enabled toys like the KidKraft Kitchen. The company’s family-friendly efforts around Alexa and other tech haven’t staved off all legal challenges. Wary parents unconvinced by smart reading tutors and a Disney-branded AI might be convinced to get into the Amazon tech ecosystem by the Glow and its vision of connecting far-flung families.
“For parents who are miles or minutes away from home for work, Glow provides a new way to say good morning or good night to keep those important relationships strong,” Tewes said. “For grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members, Glow provides an effective way to build connections and strengthen bonds with the kids in their lives in between traditional family gatherings.”