In this episode of the Unmute podcast, the host Marty and his guest Lucy discuss the Amazon Echo Show and its features. The Echo Show has a screen, camera, and a screen reader called Voice View built into it, which enables those who are blind to use the device. The screen allows users to access YouTube videos, watch Netflix, and Hulu, and identify products by holding them up to the camera through a feature called show and tell. The Echo Show comes in different sizes ranging in price from $39 to $260, and the different models are distinguished by the size of the screen. The Voice View screen reader can be activated by asking the device to enable it or by holding down the reset button and placing two fingers on the screen. The gestures used to navigate the screen are similar to those used on a smartphone. The Echo Show can also be used to call into Zoom meetings and can be hooked up to smart home devices. The hosts recommend purchasing the Echo Show on Amazon and suggest considering the size of the screen when choosing the model. The episode ends with Lucy sharing her email address for any questions or feedback.
>> Hey all, Marty here,
and we are back with another Unmute episode.
Today we have our good friend Lucy back,
and she’s going to be talking with us about
a lady and all of that fun stuff.
So Lucy, how are you doing?
>> I’m great. I’m excited.
This is going to be fun.
>> So what are we going to be talking about today?
Today we are going to talk about the Echo Show and what you can do with it.
Awesome. Sounds great. So take it away.
Okay. So there are quite a few things you can do with this device that you can’t do with the other
lady A devices. And the reason is that it has a screen, a camera, and a screen reader built into it
called voice view. And that’s for those of us who are blind, who can’t see what’s on the screen.
And so we can enable that and have it read to us what’s on the screen.
So the the you call it the screen view.
Is that what you called it?
What did the screen reader was?
What was it called?
And that’s the screen reader, correct?
So in a little bit, I will attempt
to demonstrate some of the cool things I’ve
learned about the device.
But we all know how demonstrations go
when we want them to go well.
Yeah, I know, I’m just saying. So first, let me just talk a little bit about what this device is.
It’s obviously an Amazon Echo device, and it’s also called Alexa, or as I like to call them
in my other shows, I do Lady A. So.
Now, these come in different sized screens, is that correct?
So you could get a, you know, depending on your needs,
you can get different size screens, right?
- Yeah, let me, yeah,
I’ll talk about that in just a second.
So like I said, there are two features
that distinguish this.
And one is that it has a screen and a camera
and this allows you to perform quite a few things
that you can’t do on the other Echo devices.
For example, you can access YouTube videos,
You can watch Netflix and Hulu if you have those accounts
or Amazon Prime Video if you are a Prime member.
And you can also do what is called show and tell.
And it will identify products by holding it up to the camera
and reading the barcodes.
And you can even call into Zoom meetings with this device.
However, this is kind of difficult
and I’ve only had minimal success with it.
The other feature that distinguishes the Echo Show from the other Echo devices is that it has the built-in screen reader apart from the one that allows all the other devices to talk.
And this is called Voice View, like I said.
So there are currently several different models of the show, and all of these have different generations of them because they come out with new ones all the time.
So the way that these are distinguished
is the size of the screen.
So we have the Echo Show 5, which is the smaller one,
the Echo Show 10, and the newest one that I know about
is the Echo Show 15.
And so they come in different colors
and they range in price from like the five inch one
I found today for $39, which is kind of cool.
Wow, that’s cheap.
Yup, and the 15 inch one,
the most expensive one I saw was $260.
And this one comes with Amazon Fire TV built into it
and it has a remote and all that cool stuff.
So, and so obviously the difference of all these models
in this is in the size of the screen.
And I think also the quality of the camera.
And I have the eight, the first generation.
And as far as I know,
mine can do most of what the others can do,
except the newer ones also have
an indoor security camera feature
and it has motion detection,
but I don’t really know about these things
because I don’t have that on mine.
So I don’t know about them.
So they have a camera, like I said,
which can be turned on and off.
And a lot of people like to keep their camera off
because of privacy issues and things like that.
They think that Amazon is watching them, I don’t know.
- Doesn’t it come with like a little cover
that you can like put over the camera
if you really are that uncomfortable with it?
- Or it has a switch also that you can turn off.
I don’t know about a cover, it might,
but I don’t know about that.
but you can turn off the switch.
- Well, that’s good.
At least they are thinking about people’s privacy
and how uncomfortable it would be.
So that’s cool that they implement that.
So when you get these and set them up,
it starts speaking in a female voice,
but you can change it to a male voice if you want to,
like with all of the devices,
you can do that with a simple command.
I don’t particularly like the male voice,
but it’s just a matter of preference, I guess.
So, and I think I said this on my prior podcast episode
that there are five wake words that you can use
for all these devices and they are Alexa,
Amazon, Echo, Ziggy and computer.
And mine happens to be called computer
that I’m working with today.
So I have five devices and so I’ve used all the wake words.
So I guess that means I can’t buy anymore.
- Yep, you’re done.
Once you use all the wake words,
it’s time to take a break, right?
- Yep, I guess so.
So the Voice View screen reader that I talked about
can be activated in two different ways.
First by just asking the device to enable it.
And also you can manually hold down the reset button
and place two fingers on the screen.
And I can’t seem to get that to work,
but anyway, just saying.
Okay, so let me see if we can
demonstrate a couple of these things.
So let’s do the show and tell
and see if it can read this product that I have.
Cool, sounds good.
Computer, tell me what I’m holding.
I think that’s sparkling ice water. For more info on this product, say, computer, details.
Zero sugar. Sparkling ice coconut pineapple is a fruity.
Flavorful sparkling water made with zero sugar. Each bottled water contains only five calories
for guilt-free refreshment. Better for you ingredients.
Made with colors from natural sources. Sparkling ice is made with better for you ingredients
and bursting with real-
Okay, stop. Okay. Yeah, so that was pretty good.
Some things are not as easy. All right, let’s try one more thing. Computer, what am I holding?
Let’s see. Remember to hold your item about a foot above
the countertop and centered with the camera. Yeah.
I read the following words, non-GMO, sweeteners water infused with clementine essence, water
Yeah, but let’s try it one more time.
Computer, what am I holding?
It looks like dugout mugs.
No, no, no, no.
All right, one more time.
Computer what am I holding?
It looks like retro deco solidus no, that’s certainly not right well gee
I got it to read this one earlier. It was hint water
Time flavor yeah
And now it won’t read it so darn it. What is it looking for this the barcode on the item you’re holding well
Well, you know, I thought so, but then other times it does read some things on the label.
So I have tried it with documents to see if it can be like an OCR and I haven’t really
had any success with that.
So I am not really sure to tell you the truth.
It’d be interesting because one thing I would be curious to know is if it is looking, for
example, for the barcode, if you can’t see the item you’re
holding, you would just have to kind of turn the item around
until hopefully the device picks up whatever it’s looking for.
And that’s what I was doing. And, and the first time you use
this particular skill, they have a tutorial that you can access
and it tells you exactly what you need to do in order for it
to read this, you do have to know where the camera is, and it’s in the upper right hand
corner of my device. And so, you know, you have to center it with the camera and do all
kinds of turning and up and down motions. And it will tell you, you know, if it’s not
seeing it, remember to move the item up and down or remember to hold it a foot from the
device and whatever. So the reason I think that it does read the barcodes is because
it said for more details, you know, say more details. So and I think that it was giving the
details listed probably from the barcode. Right. So that’s what I think. But I…
That or maybe it was doing what you were saying is maybe it is reading the text on
the face of the item. So maybe it can do both. I don’t know. Yeah, I guess we’ll figure it out
some point or another, right? Yeah. So anyway, it’s interesting. And, you know, I’ve had
limited success, sometimes better than others. I don’t know if it has to do with the lighting,
probably. Probably has a lot to do with it. But anyway, so, you know, that’s something that you
kind of play with and practice with. So it’s kind of cool if you live alone and you don’t have
anybody to help you read something and you need to know what something is.
Yeah, that’s great actually.
You don’t label things like me.
All right. Okay. So let’s see about this voice view thing here. Computer enable voice view.
It must be on the e-
Oh, there it goes.
Three unread messages.
Huh, unread messages from what?
I don’t know, but let’s see what we’re doing here.
Dropping to find out if food is ready to feast on.
Dropping on the kitchen.
Now is that on the screen?
Is that how you’re able to navigate?
And the gestures are very similar to those on a smartphone.
or tablet, the flicking and double tapping and things like that.
And from what I understand, it it appears to be a lot like
the Android screen readers that talk back.
Is that it?
Android’s talk back. Yes. Yes, I thought. So.
So let’s just see computer.
Open Prime Video.
Here’s Prime Video.
Okay, so let’s see what’s on this screen.
Back button Harlem season 2 Amazon Originals Prime Movies Prime TV Shows Prime TV Shows
Back button The Power season 1 No Traces ZDZ Jones in the 6th season 1 Carnival Row season
>> The back prime TV show, back button.
>> All right, let’s see.
>> Back button, Harlem sees Amazon Prime Movies.
>> So just using finger gestures to swipe on the screen.
>> Yep, I’m flicking to the right on the screen and then I double tap on TV show.
and read a few of those.
Now I just double tapped on movies.
- Oh, cool.
So the gestures are very much like a smartphone.
Reggie, read two.
Creed, die hard.
Mrs. Harris goes to Paris.
Let’s just double tap on that.
Okay, so yeah, you can watch movies
and all that good stuff.
So yeah, and you can open YouTube on there
and you can search for things,
whatever you want on YouTube by using,
when you hit the search button for YouTube,
an edit box appears and a keyboard pops up.
So you have your letters
And you can change the way you type on the keyboard
just as you can on a smartphone by touching the letter
and then double tapping it to activate it
or just swiping around and finding the letter
and taking your finger off and that will activate it.
That’s how I have mine set up.
- Oh, cool.
I think it’s great that they keep the gestures
very similar to a smartphone
so that it’s not a huge learning curve
if you’re already familiar with a screen reader
on a smartphone.
So that’s pretty cool.
- Yeah, it is very cool.
So like I said, you can also call into Zoom meetings with it.
It’s kind of clunky because when you open Zoom,
you have to put in the meeting ID
and then the password for the meeting.
And so I have been able to get into a couple of meetings,
but I wouldn’t, I don’t know, I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s just, you know, it’s kind of-
- So just out of curiosity,
let’s say that you received an email
and in the email it was click here to join the meeting
and you click that, would it automatically open or no?
- No, no, at least not that I’m aware of.
You have to have the meeting ID and yeah,
Yep. But, you know, at least it can be done. So yeah, so that’s about it, actually, that
is different from, you know, the regular devices. There are some games and skills that are,
are just for the Echo Show devices.
Maybe next month I can talk about some of those.
Yeah, that would be really great.
I’m sure people would love to hear about the skills.
A lot of people are always wondering,
what are they and how do they work
and how could they benefit them?
That would be great for next time we can
definitely dive into the world of skills.
Oh yeah, there’s just thousands of them.
So if people wanted to take a look at and pick up one of these devices, where would
they find them?
Well, the best place would be Amazon.com.
And in the search feature, just type in Echo Show.
And there you will find all of the different sizes that we talked about and the price range.
And like I said, there are different generations of them.
I think the newest one of the eight and 10 are second generations.
And the five, I think is third generation by now.
So, um, you know, um,
is there anything people should be looking for when they go to kind of decide if they
want to pick one of these up, which would be kind of the best one for their needs?
Well, I guess, you know, depending on what you’re going to use the screen for, if you
have some vision, you might want to choose one of the ones with the larger screen because
that will give you, you know, a bigger field.
But like me, I didn’t really care and I don’t know why I bought the eight.
I don’t know why I did that, but I could have, you know, easily gotten the five and been
perfectly happy with it. But, but yeah, I think that’s really the only thing and just what you
want it to do if you get the newer one, if you want the motion detection and the inside security
camera. That’s another thing that I don’t care about. But
and you could actually, if you had an outdoor, like a ring doorbell, which is also made by Amazon,
you could make it so the screen on your A-lady could see the camera and the outside.
Yeah, that’s cool.
That’s really cool, I think.
Very cool. Yeah. And I mean, you can hook up all your smart home devices to this,
just like you can with all the Amazon devices, Alexa devices.
Oh, be quiet.
Well, that is awesome. So everyone, if you want to go and take a look at these,
check them out on Amazon. And if you decide to get one, you’ll have to let us know how it goes.
And Lucy, if people want to get ahold of you or see more about what you’re doing,
how can people find you? All right. You can email me at [email protected].
And let me know what you think of the device if you happen to buy one, or if you have any questions,
that I probably won’t be able to answer. No, I’m just kidding. So yeah, that’s it.
All right. Well, thanks so much, Lucy, for coming and giving us an A-Lady update,
and we appreciate it. And we’re looking forward to seeing you next month and talking
all about skills. So thanks, everyone. Have a great one, and we’ll see you next time.
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