As with most Amazon launchers, the new smart devices will have some exquisite tricks up their sleeves, such as the ability of the Echo Show 8 to move and scale during video calls to keep callers centered, or the augmented reality technology you need. allows you to add animated responses to a video call. Some, such as panning and zooming, will be exclusive to one or more of the new devices, but others, such as animated reactions, will be released on all Echo Shows.
We’ve already looked at the new stuff on the updated Echo Show devices, plus we’ve looked at the new Alexa sound detection triggers and how to turn your display webcam into Alexa into a security camera – but there are others. Here are the other features that have already arrived – or will soon be – on your smart speaker or Alexa display.
Amazon Sidewalk comes out live on June 8: Here’s what you need to know
During the debut of the shared Wi-Fi service on June 8, a lot of noise was made about the Amazon Sidewalk, and we would be reckless not to mention the company’s new low-bandwidth shared wireless network among the new features arriving on Echo devices this week. To help readers make a more informed decision about Amazon Sidewalk, we’ve explained, arranged and even provide detailed steps for if you decide you prefer not to participate.
There are good reasons to give up the Amazon Sidewalk, but there are good reasons to try. If the idea is to open up a small portion of your monthly bandwidth so that you and your neighbors have a wider and more reliable wireless service for your smart home devices, give it a try. You can always choose to opt out later.
Update Grandma’s photo album with a shared home screen
One of the things Amazon’s smart Echo Show displays are best at is showing photos – hopefully even more so once the new Show 8 arrives with its own screen that adapts to ambient lighting to help to enhance your images.
But while Echo Shows have always been good at showing photos, they haven’t been as good at sharing them. Log in to shared home screens. The function name is something of a misnomer – you only need one Echo Show to work. The person sending the photos only needs to store them in Amazon Photos, which can then be linked to the person’s account with the Echo display.
Before you follow the steps below, you’ll need to make sure three things are right:
- Install the latest firmware on your Echo Show by swiping down from the top of the screen and navigating to Settings, then Device Settings and Check for software updates.
- Sign in to your Amazon Photos mobile phone ap with the same account you use for Alexa.
- Importing contacts is on in your Alexa app under Communicate,, | More ▼ menu (three ordered points), Import contacts.
Once everything is squared, here’s how to activate the shared home screen feature:
1. On the target Echo Show, swipe down and select Settings or say, “Alexa, set up my photo display.”
2. Choose Clock and photo display, then Amazon photos and tap Invite friends and family.
3. Select the contact whose photos you want to display.
4. The person you selected now must respond to the push notification by asking if they want to share photos.
You can soon add reactions and backgrounds to video calls
During the pandemic, video chat platforms from each tape added all sorts of fun, silly, and sometimes privacy-enhancing features, such as backgrounds and reactions to their apps. Well, it’s better late than never for Alexa.
The feature isn’t live yet, but when it is, Amazon says you’ll be able to tap the screen to select animated visual and audio reactions (hearts, laughter, and confetti are examples of Amazon). You will also make yourself look in front of street art, classical painting or other digitally imposed backgrounds that obscure the actual room you are in.
Here’s an overview of the other new Alexa features we like
There are a few more of Alexa’s new features that we haven’t covered yet that aren’t necessarily dazzling enough to win their own subsection, but are at least elegant enough to be worth mentioning:
Children’s watch themes of the upcoming Echo Show Kids: I’m not quite sure what these will look like, but we can’t wait to find out.
Recommendations for on-screen music from Amazon Music or Spotify: We’ve written about this before, but if you blink, you can skip it and it’s worth a reminder.
Scaling support: So you can make zoom calls where many people first discovered AR background entertainment.