The Amazon Echo Show is an Amazon smart speaker that integrates a 10-inch touch screen and the Alexa virtual assistant. Then we proceed to perform an analysis of this smart speaker.
Unpacking, assembly and initial setup
In this section we proceed to make a description of the unpacking and unpacked process of the Amazon Echo Show, describing the packaging and whether it is an accessible process for people with disabilities or the elderly. The initial configuration procedure and the possible difficulties detected are also analyzed.
Unpacking and assembly
The Amazon Echo Show comes inside a closed cardboard box with a shaft that must be cut with some sharp instrument, such as scissors. After breaking the seal, the cover is opened at the top. The first thing that appears is a cardboard in which the Amazon Echo Show is wrapped, which closes in the form of a bag and that has a handle to take out the device, and is somewhat heavy. At the bottom of the box, and in the central part, between a couple of cartons, is the charger and a couple of booklets.
The cardboard is removed separating the two extremities that form the handle. Inside, the device comes in a plastic wrap that surrounds its entire exterior.
Once the device and the charger are removed, the plastics that cover them must be removed. The power charger is connected at the bottom rear under pressure. This connects easily, but it is almost impossible to disconnect, which is an accessibility barrier for some people.
The initial configuration procedure is quite simple and is done from the device itself. The different steps to configure the Amazon Echo Show are not described in this section, although a problem that arose during the initial setup will be described. The issue of process accessibility is covered in the corresponding section of this review.
Once the configuration process was completed, and after proper updates, the device spoke in English although Spanish was marked as a language and understood the questions perfectly. After several attempts, using the application, it was possible to make the Amazon Echo Show speak in Spanish, although it was not clear how it was achieved, since the application was marked as US English language.
The Amazon Echo Show is one of Amazon's smart speakers, which integrates a 10-inch touch screen.
This device has several buttons and connectors. In the upper central part, there are three small circular buttons. The one on the left is used to connect and disconnect the microphone, as well as to turn off the device and activate or deactivate the VoiceView screen reader. The other two buttons are used to increase and decrease the volume. The connector for the power adapter is located at the bottom rear, and on both sides of it there are two ports, a microUSB and a Kensington hook to secure the speaker with a padlock.
The lcd touch screen has a diagonal of 10.1 inches, with an HD resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. The images are sharp, with a wide range of color while the letters are large and white on a black background with good readability. For its part, the brightness of the screen is lower than in other devices in its category or on smartphones, and can only be configured manually.
The device has a matrix of 8 microphones housed in the upper part of the case, which allows you to perfectly recognize the voice with background noise and considerable distance, although you can not perceive sounds too low.
The Amazon Echo Show integrates two 2-inch speakers with neodymium magnet plus a passive bass radiator speaker, which gives you great quality and power sound. The volume can be set between 0 and 10, and can be regulated by voice commands. In addition, even if the sound is at zero, if the device is asked any questions, it will momentarily increase the volume to provide the corresponding response.
It also integrates a 5Mpx front camera for video calls between Echo devices. It also has Wifi and bluetooth 5.0 connections.
This section analyzes the interaction with both the Amazon Echo Show and the Amazon Alexa application, which is necessary for the association with smart devices.
Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show has a 10-inch screen in which all the contents are displayed. If you slide a finger from the top of the screen down a menu is displayed that gives access to the device configuration options and the Brightness setting and the "Do not disturb" mode. In addition, if you slide your finger from the right side to the center, another menu is displayed that contains a series of shortcuts under the heading of "Discover Alexa", as well as a series of buttons to perform tasks related to routines. the lists and other functions of the device.
This application is analyzed in the Alexa review, but mention is made here because it is necessary to configure smart devices.
The application is structured in five tabs and a menu. From the Devices tab you can access the options related to smart devices. From here you can add a new group or device, add a skill to control a device or access the already configured devices.
The interface is clear and simple, allowing quick access to both configuration and devices.
The Amazon Echo Show uses the Amazon Alexa as a virtual assistant, so that its good or malfunction is determined by its behavior, which is analyzed in the Alexa review. However, oral comprehension is enhanced by the quality of the eight-microphone array integrated in the device, which allows a better understanding of the orders given.
In general, oral comprehension is very good, understanding most verbal commands. Sometimes it has confused orders, although they have been few times.
The device uses natural language both to receive orders and to provide a response to the user. This allows you to understand questions such as "What temperature will it be tomorrow at 7 in the morning in Córdoba" or "Put me pop music of the eighties". In this way, communication with the user is pleasant and natural, allowing a very satisfactory and comfortable interaction.
In relation to the response time, this is appropriate, and may be affected by the speed of the internet connection.
Connecting a device to the Amazon Echo Show can be a complex procedure. The first thing to do is install the application corresponding to the device, in order to configure it. In this analysis two devices have been used, a smart LED strip and a smart plug. The device configuration procedure will be more or less complex depending on how the manufacturer designed the application. However, once the smart device is configured, it is still associated with Amazon Echo Show, a procedure that is done or looking for the corresponding skill, or by linking the device directly to the Amazon Echo Show if it uses the Zigbee protocol. Therefore, the part that can be more complex is that relating to smart devices, since associating it with an Apple account is relatively simple.
In relation to the verbal commands supported, these depend on the type of device and those that have been implemented for it by the manufacturer. . Thus, the smart LED strip allows you to change the color, brightness and mode (fixed, flashing, etc.), as well as turning it on or off. The device comes with a remote control that allows you to change all this. However, using verbal commands you can only change the color of the LED, the brightness and turn it off and on, making it impossible to change the mode. For its part, the plug only allows two verbal commands, turn off and on.
This section analyzes the accessibility options available for the different types of accessibility, as well as the problems detected for any of the previous groups.
People with visual functional diversity
This group has at its disposal a series of assistive aids that allow them to handle the Amazon Echo Show without any difficulty once it has been configured. The first to highlight is the screen reader, called VoiceView, which has a large number of configuration options and gestures for handling. You can also activate the magnifying glass, which has gestures to enlarge and reduce the screen, as well as to move it. Also, you can activate color inversion and color correction.
In relation to the problems detected, there are basically two. On the one hand, the assistive technologies cannot be activated during the initial setup, so this process is completely inaccessible for this group. On the other hand, activating the screen reader or magnifying glass requires keystrokes that can be difficult for some people.
People with auditory functional diversity
People with functional auditory diversity or communication problems can use the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker without problems thanks to the different accessibility options it integrates. On the one hand, you can activate and configure subtitles for both the responses provided by Alexa and the videos that include them, and on the other, you can configure the "Press" option that allows you to operate the device without the voice thanks to a set of on-screen icons that allow you to perform frequent actions with the press, create new icons or activate the on-screen keyboard. It is also possible to activate calls and voiceless messages, which allows you to view Alexa contacts and read Alexa messages.
In general, no problems have been detected that impede or hinder the handling of the Amazon Echo Show by people with hearing impairment or speech problems. The only drawback is related to those videos that do not have subtitles, since these when they exist have sufficient duration to be read.
People with physical functional diversity
The Amazon Echo Show does not have any specific help for these people, which does not preclude handling.
The problems for this group focus mainly on the installation of the devices, which can become a great accessibility barrier. There is also an accessibility barrier in the configuration of the device, which is done from the device and cannot be done through the use of voice commands.
People with intellectual or mental functional diversity
This group does not have its own assistive technologies. As in all virtual assistants, these people may encounter difficulties depending on the degree of their disability and their training to handle technological devices.
Older people, due to age, may have a problem that requires any of the accessibility options described above. The problems can be both visual and auditory or mobility.
In addition, since the device can be operated by voice commands, with the exception of the configuration menu, and through natural language, accessibility problems are greatly reduced.
This section studies how satisfactory the manipulation of the device is from the user's point of view, as well as its ease of use. It also studies how simple and easy the Amazon Alexa application is, necessary to associate and configure smart devices. Applications related to smart devices will not be taken into account since they are not the object of study in this review.
In addition, the benefits that Amazon Echo Show brings to different groups are analyzed, describing the main utilities.
First, the initialization and configuration process of the Amazon Echo Show must be taken into account, which is done directly from the device itself. This process, although it has an important duration, is quite simple, since once the Wi-Fi network and the user account have been configured, which must exist previously, the rest of it is practically automatic, updating the software and restarting several times. The inconvenience is due to the lack of accessibility in the initial configuration, since the accessibility options are only available once the device is initialized and configured. Also, sometimes, the device may speak in a different language than the one you have configured and it may take a considerable time to make it speak in the desired language.
The Amazon Echo show has a 10.1-inch high-definition screen that allows you to play multimedia content with high quality. It occupies the entire front, and has no edges. Its surface allows a smooth movement with the fingers, which is very pleasant to the touch. In addition, the sound provided by the speakers is of high quality and can be increased to a high volume. On the other hand, the volume buttons and to activate and deactivate the microphone, located at the top of the case, are pressed gently, although the volume buttons are not necessary to control the audio level.
For its part, oral interaction is very good, correctly understanding most verbal orders. In addition, the functionality of the device can be extended by installing skills, which also have their own verbal commands. In relation to the interaction with the touch screen, this is very good, both with and without assistance. The answer is immediate when the touch screen is operated. Whether with some assistance or not, the screen has a smooth interface.
In relation to the devices, these are configured from the Amazon Alexa application, once they have been configured with their own applications. The installation of the skills is quite simple, just having to look for the skill associated with the smart device. Once installed, this device can now be operated using the corresponding voice commands.
Utility, advantages and disadvantages
The employment of the Amazon Echo show provides a series of advantages and utilities for certain groups, some of which are set out below.
- Easy to use. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to perform actions such as consulting the weather forecast, translating words or phrases into other languages, consulting the meaning of words, performing mathematical operations, converting between metric or monetary units, searching for information, etc. quickly and easily by voice. This is very useful for people with visual or physical disabilities who cannot handle a device or access a dictionary, as well as for the elderly with vision problems or who do not have much computer skills.
- Home automation. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to control smart devices using verbal commands. This is very useful for people with physical disabilities who cannot move or for people with blindness who otherwise could not handle such devices because they are not accessible. In addition, for older people it may be of interest since it helps control appliances.
- Memory Access to the personal calendar and reminders, by voice, and the announcement of events or the creation of routines can be very useful for older people who have memory problems. In addition, with skills such as Memory, memory can be exercised, which results in a very important benefit for the mental health of these people.
- Audiobooks. The Amazon Echo Show can read Kinddle's books aloud or play the audiobooks that the user has in their library. This is very useful for people with visual disabilities, and can be interesting for people with mobility problems. It can also be useful for older people with a vision problem typical of age.
- Loneliness. There are certain studies that have shown that Alexa contributes to improving the loneliness that certain older people may have thanks to the possibility of being able to establish conversation between the user and Alexa in much the same way as talking to a person.
- Entertainment. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to play multimedia content or play different games, which is of interest to older people who live alone or people who do not leave their homes due to mobility problems, among others.
- Routines The execution of daily tasks that are usually done consecutively can be automated, which is useful for different users since it facilitates them to perform them with only a verbal order.
The Amazon Echo Show is a smart speaker that can be very useful for older people or with functional diversity. It allows you to perform different tasks through verbal orders, such as checking the weather forecast, obtaining information or controlling smart devices. All this is of great interest for the elderly or with some kind of functional diversity, even with hearing impairment or communication problems thanks to the touch screen and the assistive technologies that it incorporates.
As for the hardware it incorporates, the matrix of eight microphones is more than enough to capture the user's voice without problems, as long as it does not speak in whispers. On the other hand, the speakers emit a clean sound of high quality and with great volume power.
The interaction with the user, either by voice or through the touch screen, is very good, with adequate response times, only being slowed by the speed of the Internet connection. In addition, the answers provided are correct in most cases, since they usually understand the user well when he speaks.
The issue of accessibility of the Amazon Echo Show deserves special mention, since it integrates assistive technologies for people with visual, hearing and communication disabilities, as well as that it can be used by older people or with physical, mental or intellectual functional diversity. In addition, these technologies are of high quality, which allows the device to be used by these people normally.
A very positive aspect that gives the device a certain personality is naturalness and expressiveness in speech. The use of popular expressions, the use of humor and the possibility of telling jokes or singing different types of songs make it seem like talking to a person, which helps fight loneliness.
The least positive aspect is that assistive aids can only be activated once the device has been initialized and configured for the first time. This implies that some people with disabilities cannot start it without the help of third parties.
- Excellent accessibility for different types of disabilities.
- Possibility of installing skills to increase functionality.
- Management of intelligent devices through voice.
- Easy to use.
- Audiobook playback and reading aloud from Kindle books.
- Help fight loneliness.
- It could be analyzed the possibility of making an initial accessible setup.
- It would be interesting if the brightness could be controlled by voice.
- It could be studied the posibility of increasing the brightness range.
- It could be studied the possibility of changing quick methods to enable and disable VoiceView.