Amazon has confirmed that its newly-announced Echo Show will soon gain support for third-party display and video interfaces. While the Amazon Echo range is not a new line of products, the Amazon Echo Show is, and of more importance, adopts the use of a new key ingredient, a display. Making it quite different to the rest of the Echo range and by association, a device that is able to make use of a greater skill set than the rest of the Echo line.
While all the Alexa-enabled and Echo devices make use of Alexa skills, these are skills that are mainly designed with voice-activation responses in mind. Echo Show will be capable of far more and this is where Amazon is hoping third-party developers will be able to fill in the gaps. While the Alexa technology is common to all Alexa and Echo devices, the Echo Show bridges the gap by solely relying on Alexa skills to function (unlike Alexa-enabled devices but like other Echo devices) while including a display (unlike Echo devices, but like Alexa-enabled devices). With the difference being that the Echo Show does not have the app grounding to make greater use of the display – like Alexa-enabled smartphones, tablets, devices. As such, Amazon has confirmed that it will be adding new capabilities to the Alexa Skills Kit that are designed to better facilitate and optimize the use of the display. Which will in turn allow developers to tweak the overall experience significantly.
For instance, Amazon highlights that with these new developer tools, developers will be able to create their own "visual experiences unique to Echo Show." These could include the use of various GUI templates, as well as the ability to make use of a new video player to stream video content to the Echo Show. Speaking of which, another aspect that Amazon touches upon in the developer announcement is how the Echo Show will be able to connect (and view) smart home cameras. All of which will not only be accessible via the Echo Show, but also controllable by just using the voice. Although, with the display on the Echo Show being a touchscreen display, there is also the option for developers to provide a more touch-based interactive experience to their users. As a means to provide examples of the type of content that will be available through the Echo Show, Amazon highlights that a number of third-party services (including Allrecipes, Jeopardy, Uber, OpenTable, and CNN) are already using updated skills designed especially to take advantage of the Echo Show's display. As detailed in the image above with CNN able to display video briefings.