Amazon's $29.99 Alexa-powered Echo Wall Clock is now up for order and has an official in-stock date pointing to its arrival at the company's warehouses on December 24. Amazon hasn't marked the item as a 'pre-order' so that date does seem to be guaranteed. That also means it won't arrive by Christmas for those who may have hoped to use the item for holiday cooking or other related tasks. For Amazon Prime members, it should arrive within just a couple of days from its arrival at shipping fulfillment centers which could mean as late as December 27 or December 28 depending on a number of factors. Amazon notes that the traditional looking clock with digital embellishments ships with everything needed to get started including batteries and mounting hardware.
Background: The Amazon Echo Wall Clock was first announced back in September and there don't appear to have been a lot of changes made to the smart home device in the meantime. That means it does require a compatible Echo device for the initial set-up, tying in the 'analog' movement with the Alexa-powered speaker or screen-based hub it's connected to and pulling timer readings from the same. Once set up, the clock is intended as an augment for the multiple timer functions and uses 60 LEDs in place of minute markers to show those at a glance. Bright lights show each individual timer while dimmer LEDs show the full extent of the initial timer in minutes and perform an animated countdown of the final 60 seconds. There's no need to 'send' the timer to the clock either. Instead, any timer set on any connected Echo device will appear on the 10 x 10 x 1.6-inch 'white bezel' wall clock. The standard clock hands are synced to the local time of day.
As noted above, four AA batteries are included in the package to get things started as well as a drywall screw and anchor to get things set up without an extra trip to the hardware store. As revealed at its announcement, it's also exceptionally minimalistic in appearance, with a black face offset by white numbers, hands, and beveled bezel in a round design. Those are in multiple slight variations of the color used to keep things separated and uncluttered. Connectivity is established via Bluetooth 4.2, keeping the price down but creating the requirement for an Echo smart speaker or display. Amazon has not clarified how long the included batteries are expected to last with typical use but the item doesn't appear to have any high-powered components that would keep that metric low.
Impact: In the initial announcement for the Echo Wall Clock, a speaker had been included in the design. That could have been used for playing alarm sounds for timers or music at other times but isn't mentioned at all in Amazon's listing. A cutout is seen near the center of the clock at the front that could be a speaker grill but that isn't explained either. Presumably, the company hasn't removed that feature between its launch and the now expected December 24 arrival date since that would be at least as useful as being able to see a visual representation of Alexa timers.