Amazon this morning announced a handful of updates across its Echo Show line of smart screens. The top-level most interesting bit here is the addition of a pan and zoom camera to the mid-tier Echo Show. The feature is similar to ones found on Facebook’s various Portal devices and Google’s high-end Nest Hub Max.
Essentially, it’s designed to keep the subject in frame — Apple also recently introduced the similar Center Stage features for the latest iPad Pro. It comes after Amazon introduced a far less subtle version in the Echo Show 10, which actually follows the subject around by swiveling the display around the base. I know I’m not alone in being a little creeped out, seeing it in action.
The new feature arrives on the Show 8’s 13-megapixel camera, which is coupled with a built-in physical shutter — a mainstay as Amazon is looking to stay ahead of the privacy conversations. The eight-inch HD display is powered by an upgraded octa-core processor and coupled with stereo speakers. The new Show 8 runs $130.
The other biggest news here is the arrival of the Echo Show 5 Kids — the one really new product in the bunch. At $95, the kid-focused version of the screen features a customizable home screen, colorful design, a two-year warranty in case of breaks and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+.
There’s a new version of the regular Show 5, too, featuring an upgraded HD camera, new colors and additional software features. That runs $85. The new devices go up for preorder today and start shipping later this month.