Amazon announced some new features this morning aimed at bringing more accessibility to the Echo line. At the top of the list is Tap to Alexa (not to be confused with the Amazon Tap, mind), which circumvents the need to use voice to interact with the Echo Show.
The new feature essentially turns the device into a touchscreen tablet, by clicking the feature on in settings. Once enabled, users can choose from a number of shortcuts to add to the home screen. The list includes news and weather, along with customizable functions, like the ability to turn specific smart home devices on and off, using text inputs.
It’s a simple solution, but it should offer a way into the Alexa ecosystem for users unable to audio cues to interact with the system. It’s the kind of thing that Amazon could really only add once it introduced displays into the mix.
Same goes for Alexa Captioning. The feature was introduced for U.S. customers a few months back, and now it’s being rolled out to those in the U.K., Germany, Japan, India, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The addition will offer an on-screen text-based Alexa responses on both the Echo Show and Spot.
Taken together, the two features should help Amazon appeal to a whole new group of users.