Is the show over for Echo Show?

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Amazon Fire tablet with Show Mode can provide similar video responses as Echo Show
Amazon Fire tablet with Show Mode can provide similar video responses as Echo Show / Image: Amazon
By introducing Show Mode for Fire tablets accompanied by a dedicated charging stand, Amazon makes us ask: Alexa, what will happen with Echo Show?

Echo Show is a part of the range of voice-controlled smart speakers that rely on Alexa technology. But it’s something more than a smart speaker because it has the 7-inch screen.

It was launched in June 2017, with a price tag set at $229.99. It was almost three times more expensive than Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet launched at the same time, offered for $79.99.

Echo Show’s touchscreen enables the device to provide not only audio responses. The screen can show weather forecasts, Amazon Video content, or security camera feeds. You can see your family photos, read music lyrics, or make video calls. Just like on the tablet.

But Echo Show will never be a tablet because it’s built to stand. On the kitchen desk, coffee table, or bedside cabinet.

Then, in October 2017, Amazon Fire HD 10 was launched. It is the first (and now not the only one) Fire tablet that you can activate and operate using only your voice, thanks to the updated Alexa software component. The regular price of the 10-inch Fire with Alexa hands-free is lower than Echo Show’s – it’s $149.99.

Already in October, some people suspected it would be a matter of time to put Fire tablets on desks or bedside tables and make them speak the way Echos do – without the need to touch them.

This time has just come. Amazon has announced yesterday Show Mode together with a special charging stand for Fire tablets that make them look and behave just like Echo Show.

Show Mode is a part of the new software update for Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10, which will be automatically delivered to users’ tablets starting July 2.

After the update, the tablet will be able to display the same or similar visual information you’ve seen so far on the Echo Show. And Echo Show will never be a tablet.

What’s more, together with the software, Amazon has announced a new accessory designed to turn Fires into Echo Shows even easier.

It’s called Show Mode Charging Dock and it’s a combination of the charging station and multi-angle stand. It comes together with a specially designed case that makes it easy to put the tablet inside and automatically turn on the Show Mode.

Why do I think Amazon considers fading out the Echo Show? The Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD 8 costs $39.99. You will also be able to buy the Show Mode dock bundled with the tablet, which will in case of Fire HD 8 cost $134.98.

I can have a fully-fledged tablet worth $135 working like Echo Show worth $230. But I can’t have Echo Show working like a fully-fledged tablet.

Echo Show vs Amazon Fire HD 8 with Show Mode
Echo Show (left) and Amazon Fire HD 8 (right) can perform similar voice-activated actions, such as making video calls / Images: Amazon

To make the picture almost complete, a couple of days ago the price of Echo Show was reduced by $70, from $229.99 to $159.99.

What will Amazon do with Echo Show (and video-enhanced smart speakers in general)? The upcoming Prime Day and price cuts on specific devices can give clear hints on the strategy.

“Alexa, what will happen with Echo Show?”

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