Mike Becky

Amazon Announces $229 Box With Screen ➝

Nick Heer, on the Amazon Echo Show:

This sounds promising, right? Kind of like having an iPad Mini that’s always on and features a way better version of Siri. Only one small problem: it’s hideous. Nostalgia may be a powerful force, but I don’t imagine many people are nostalgic for a mid-1980s appliance. It weighs a kilo, so it’s meant to sit in one place all the time, and that place is probably going to be somewhere in the open because of the kind of device this is. People will see it.

I don’t think the Echo Show’s design matters as much as Nick thinks it does. There are plenty of people that have a small TV on their kitchen counter because they just want something that they can listen to and glance at while cooking or doing dishes. And the vast majority of these TVs are hideous.

But, the type of people that would buy an Echo Show are more likely to care about the design of the product. Can Amazon convince enough of these people that it looks good enough? Maybe. But I’m not convinced that this iteration is compelling enough to tip the scales.

The other possibility is that Amazon will convince enough kitchen TV buyers to spend a little extra on the Echo Show. The biggest hurdle for that market, though: it’s not a TV. Sure, it has some video functionality, but for many of these buyers, anything beyond plugging in a coaxial cable is a little too complicated.