The message of today’s big Amazon event was pretty clear: Echos for everyone, for every need in every room of every home. The company clearly has no desire to create one device to rule them all. Instead, it’s building out micro functionality, with every product designed to target different needs for different users.
While I’m still working through all of the details from today’s announcement (and probably will be at least until next week’s Google event), one Echo clearly pretty obviously stands head and shoulders above the rest. It was clear from the moment the company announced the Spot that it was the most exciting of the bunch. The new device takes the lessons learned from the company’s best-selling Echo Dot and applies them to its formerly most compelling product, the Echo Show.
The Spot is, in essence, a cross-pollination of the two products, as its name implies (Show + Dot = Spot). It offers all the basic functionality of the Show and applies it to a much smaller form factor, at a far more affordable price point ($130). Of course, the company had to make some sacrifices to get there — the screen is much smaller, at 2.5 inches, and the on-board speakers suck (though, like the Dot, there is audio out here).
But along with those sacrifices comes a device that’s capable of fitting into far more spots in the home (pun possibly intended, I’m not really sure anymore) and serving a number of interesting new purposes. It’s no mistake that Amazon led with alarm clock functionality. In the time I spent with the Show, the morning was far and away the time I most engaged with the product — morning news, weather, traffic and the like are great when you’re on your way out the door.
The Spot is the product Chumby was trying to be, but one built with better technology and with a far more robust set of skills that make it an ideal bedside companion (though maybe put some tape over the camera while you sleep, because yuck). Sorry Chumby, the world just wasn’t ready for you. The Spot also features things like security camera compatibility, which make it ideal for other spots, like the kitchen.
The device takes the best bits from the best Echos, and the result is the most interesting of the bunch. The new Echo is certainly an improvement over its predecessor, but honestly, I don’t really spend a lot of time with Amazon Music. The Echo Plus, meanwhile, seems targeted toward users who want connected devices, but don’t know how to go about doing the connecting. And the Echo Button — well, they’re kind of the In Through the Out Door of the Echo catalog.
The Spot’s December release date is no coincidence. This thing is going to be a big holiday seller. And frankly, I wouldn’t be surprise if it topped the Echo sales charts at the end of the year.