Why it matters to you
Echo Buttons further show that Amazon wants Alexa to be both a source for information and entertainment.
During its surprise Alexa-themed event on Wednesday, September 27, Amazon revealed a new gaming-centric peripheral for Alexa compatible devices. Echo Buttons, which look like mini Staples Easy Buttons, were designed to encourage developers to make games for Amazon’s Echo line of Alexa-enabled products.
Third-party developers will be able to use Echo Buttons’ Gadget API to create games that play through devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. The Echo Buttons were shown off with a sample of a trivia game using the Echo Dot in conjunction with the Buttons. When off, the actual buttons are white, but they illuminate either red or blue when active.
Given that the buttons merely have single-touch functionality, don’t expect any elaborate games. It is more likely that we will see different sorts of trivia and board games, the kind that appeal to a family game night in the living room. Hasbro is currently developing a version of Trivial Pursuit for use with the Echo Buttons, but so far that is the only confirmed game for Alexa devices.
Echo Buttons will be sold in two-packs for $20 when they release later in 2017. If you enjoy party game or want something to do during family get-togethers around the holidays, Echo Buttons are an intriguing Echo add-on for the price. We’ll just have to wait and see if more developers show interest in developing for the API.
Echo Buttons were just one of several new products revealed at Amazon’s event. The second-generation Amazon Echo, dubbed the Cloth Echo, is approximately half the size of the original Echo and goes for $99 (yes, it is also covered in cloth). Meanwhile, for users who preferred the look of the first Echo, the Echo Plus retains the look of the original while being marketed as a smart home hub to go directly against Apple’s AirPod…